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HR: Attract Employees from Tier-one Cities to Tier-two or Tier-three Cities
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In recent years, China has been reshaping its industrial landscape and tier-two and tier-three cities are now considered as the new developing markets in China. Both State-owned enterprises and multinational companies are taking the opportunity to shift their businesses to these new markets that promise lower start-up and development costs (labour, capital, materials costs). Corporations can also take advantage of the working process of tier-two and three city officials that they seem to be easier and more supportive than tier-one cities in granting land approvals. However, tier-one cities remain the preference for many skilled workers and experts due to the better standard of living and working opportunities. Therefore, how to attract more talent from tier-one cities to work in Tier-two/three cities is a big challenge for most companies’ HR departments.  
 
According to the China Talent-flow Survey Report published by RMG Selection, almost 70% of those surveyed have considered relocating to other cities if the job opportunity is good enough and 20% of them are willing to go to any cities including tier-two and three cities. This is obviously good news for companies in tier-two/three cities, but at the same time, it means that employers should look at employees’ concerns and expectations in relocating to different cities. Moving to a different city to work is never an easy process for anybody, especially for people from tier-one cities where the living standards are a lot higher. Considering the challenges from the perspective of employees (candidates) will help HR departments have a better understanding in order to solve problems and be able to attract talented candidates to the company. Below are some key issues and suggested solutions:
 
1. Future development: The very first concern that most candidates think about is future development in their career path. Most of them are working in their companies’ headquarters in Tier-one cities where they have already built up strong career networks which can be a great advantage for promotions or their future employment opportunities. While moving to a different city may mean they have to start everything over again, having a chance to foster a strong sense of the new community is not as easy. 
 
Solution: HR departments should consider giving candidates a career plan that promises them potential opportunities to support their future development. The HR department should be able to provide candidates with an action plan with detailed steps to help employees acquire knowledge about their own ability, their career paths and opportunities. By giving them a broader view of their career goals, the company could possibly help candidates realise that relocating to a different city might be a boost for their career in the long-term. The company can also offer candidates the chance to join in social business events in their headquarter city, as well as the new city, so that employees can keep in touch with their current connections and also build up new networks in the new location. Another point that HR should mention to candidates in the first place is working in Tier-two and three cities could benefit employees in terms of career development, as an office in Dalian, Tianjin or Chengdu might be the heart of the corporation in the near future.
 
2. Family Concerns: This is one of the biggest issues for most employees when it comes to relocating. It is believed that the living standard and educational standards in Tier-one cities are better than those in Tier-two and three cities. The majority of employees want to let their children (family) remain in Tier-one cities in order to receive a better education. Moving to a different place to work also means being away from their wider family. It is especially hard for younger families when they already have kids (it might be easier for people who are still single). Moving away from home can be so tough for most people that they commonly feel lonely, isolated and overwhelmed. This would strongly influence their working spirit as well as their performance and productivity at work. 
 
Solution: It is very important for HR departments to understand that employees in any organisation need motivation to keep them performing quality work. In this case, the company should not only consider general motivational strategies, but also the specific motivational appeals that focus on employees’ feelings toward the potential family concerns. It is recommended that HR department should offer employees a certain amount of transportation and cell phone allowance so that they can feel comfortable to visit and contact their family frequently. I would also recommend that the company gives employees who work in different cities an extra vacation or a trip for their family to visit them once a year. Family is a crucial factor as it is one of the basic desires that guides human behaviour and motivates our actions in general and the working efficiency in particular. Therefore, the only way to attract employees to a job that requires moving away is to facilitate and make it easier for them to communicate and feel closer to their family. This is also an easy way to be more competitive than other companies.
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3. Salary: Working in tier-one cities often guarantees a higher salary than that in tier-two and three cities. 
 
Normally, for the same level in similar companies, the salary of employees in the tier-two cities takes up 70% of those who work in Tier one cites. However, that also means an employee from tier-one cities when relocate to tier-two, three cities might get a higher position. This is because different cities have different salary ranges, thus employees might hesitate in making the decision to relocate.
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Solution: Most of the time, salary negotiation is a crucial process between HR department and candidates. Although it is lower in tier-two cities for the same level, HR could find excellent candidates and give them opportunities to be hired at higher levels. On one hand, the higher title is attractive; on the other, the salary budget is wider. The challenge for HR here is to find talented people with great potential. Secondly, everybody knows that the living costs in tier-two cities are lower than Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. However, no one knows the exact details of how different. It will be very helpful if the HR department prepares a detailed description of how much money people can save from the lower cost of housing, telephone, traffic, meals and even commuting time. Sometimes, even if the salary is lower than before, the employee can still save more money in tier-two cities. Thirdly, it is more than just the salary it is the whole compensation package that a company can offer for employees moving from tier-one cities to work in tier-two and three cities. As mentioned above in the family concerns, other perks vary widely upon the significance of the position. The HR department can always prepare a comparison chart of pros and cons between the two regions in order to show employees how beneficial it is to work in tier-two and three cities.

By Robert Parkinson 
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