Shanghai to set aside public housing for young teachers and doctors to halt brain drain

Move comes as high living costs, including house prices, have led to many graduates with master’s or PhD degrees moving to work away from city

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 10:54pm

Shanghai will set aside public housing for young teachers and medical professionals in a bid to keep such talented people living in the expensive city, its deputy mayor said.

“High living costs, including house prices, have affected the introduction of education and medical talents,” Weng Tiehui, a vice-mayor for education and health, was quoted as saying by the Shanghai-based news portal Thepaper.cn.

“Many graduates with master’s or PhD degrees are enticed away by regions near to Shanghai. It’s largely due to home prices being too high here,” Weng said at the city’s ongoing annual political advisers’ meeting.

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Junior teachers and doctors can generally earn less than 10,000 yuan (HK$11,260) a month, although that is still above the city’s average monthly income of 6,000 yuan.

Some districts in Shanghai have already adopted a subsidised housing policy to compete for young talent.

In 2009, Jiading district allowed “highly educated talents” to buy apartments measuring about 70-90 sq metres for a price that was 60 per cent of the market value.

Weng said the municipal government would align itself with the urban construction and housing authority and district governments to promote public rented properties among teachers and doctors this year.

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More public rented homes would be turned into accommodation for young teachers or young medical staff to rent, according to the report.

Weng also proposed the rental period should be prolonged so that teachers and doctors could save up their income so they could afford to buy a home in Shanghai.

The report did not mention precise statistics about the severity of brain drain among young people in the city. But amid other factors, such as an ageing population and low birthrate, Shanghai’s population decreased in 2015 by 104,000 to 24.2 million, the first fall since 2000, according to the city’s statistics bureau.