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Business News/ Companies / News/  To escape Delhi’s toxic air, executives seek to relocate
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To escape Delhi’s toxic air, executives seek to relocate

Rising air pollution is driving C-suite executives, professionals to look for jobs elsewhere
  • Every winter, Delhi’s pollution dominates headlines, thanks to an impermeable smog
  • Though job profiles and pay packages are still the primary reason for any professional move, pollution is also finding a place in the list. (Yogendra Kumar/HT)Premium
    Though job profiles and pay packages are still the primary reason for any professional move, pollution is also finding a place in the list. (Yogendra Kumar/HT)

    Union minister Prakash Javedekar may think that there is no established link between air pollution and a shorter life span, but head hunters will tell him a different story.

    Anshul Lodha, regional director with head-hunting and human resource consulting firm Michael Page, has been receiving a rather specific recruitment request from his clients: job placements to escape New Delhi’s air pollution.

    Over the past two weeks, Lodha said he has received requests from six C-suite executives and senior professionals to find them jobs outside Delhi.

    “I’m getting a lot of queries from senior executives across industries, even those at chief executive officer levels, who have reached out to us saying Delhi has become unliveable and it’s difficult to keep their children and families in that environment. So they are keen to relocate to any other part of India...preferably Mumbai, Bengaluru, or overseas," said Lodha.

    Executives who can afford to choose their lifestyle are the ones who have approached his hiring firm, Lodha said.

    Every winter, Delhi’s pollution dominates news headlines, because of an impermeable smog generated by Diwali firecrackers, vehicular traffic, industrial activity, and stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

    The smog not only reduces visibility and results in medical complications because of respiratory ailments, but also forces schools to shut down and the government to issue advisories for people to stay indoors.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t getting any better. Last week, air quality across the National Capital Region (NCR) had turned ‘severe’ yet again, with dense smog engulfing the region.

    The air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 410 for Delhi, 423 for Gurugram, and 461 for Noida early Thursday, according to the government’s air quality monitoring service, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

    “I decided to move to Bangalore from Delhi as I have two children who I do not want to expose to toxic air. My husband is still in Delhi and would join us when he finds something as lucrative here," said a senior official from a retail company.

    Jyoti Bowen Nath, managing partner at recruitment firm Claricent Partners, has also been busy finding opportunities for clients who wish to move out of New Delhi. Nath, who has recently helped relocate two C-suite executives from Delhi to Mumbai and Bangalore, said she has seen a 30% rise in such requests.

    “Though job profile and pay package are still the primary reason for any professional move, pollution is also finding a place in the list," said Nath.

    For R. Suresh, managing director of Insist, a boutique executive search firm, closing positions for Delhi-based clients has become an uphill task, especially this year.

    “We recently had an expat to be hired for a position in Delhi but he declined the offer because of the level of pollution. So to close positions for Delhi-based companies, we prefer to talk to people who are local residents or people who hail from Delhi as they are ready to relocate. So Delhi-bound career transition has come down," said Suresh.

    Sectors that are recruiting C-suite candidates in Delhi include FMCG, manufacturing and corporate, he said.

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    Published: 15 Dec 2019, 11:30 PM IST
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