I had lunch the other day with somebody that was in the people business.
He was on the short-selling of employment as his business was focused on outplacement services.
I always found outplacement services an oxymoron in many ways.
We were talking about the high cost of housing and the impact on young people.
He shared a story with me about somebody who worked for Google who lived in a trailer on their campus.
They have free food and gyms for showering he said.
Where do they pee I asked?
A Neil Young lyric popped into my mind when he sang “I was hoping it was a lie.”
I live in Orange County California where the average rent for a two bedroom apartment is $2094. I remember when there were strawberry fields where those apartment complexes now are. In Newport Beach the average cost of an apartment is $2300.
The situation is worst in cities like San Francisco where the average cost of a two bedroom apartment is $4500.
As soon as an affordable rent area gets gentrified the rents go up. Look at LA. The places where nobody would go ten to fifteen years ago are hipster Ville.
When I am recruiting for young talent I often hear the requests for the young wiper snapper who has all the goods. The starting salary can be $45K to $55K.
The numbers don’t add up.
I went to a networking event the other day featuring a panel from the local business journal. They said the solution for high cost housing was building vertically.
Vancouver is a vertical city in many ways just like Hong Kong.
The average cost of rent in Vancouver for a one bedroom apartment is $1800.
I don’t want to share a recent story in the New York Times about how many people in Hong Kong live in a 600 square foot apartment.
Companies know a lot of this but treat it as not their problem. They don’t appreciate that if an employee struggles in their personal life they will often struggle at work.
There are articles aplenty that say young people aren’t loyal to companies but they have few alternatives especially if they have been low balled when they joined the company.
I have blogged in the past why young people shouldn’t be loyal to any company.
Maybe the answer is a housing subsidy to attract talent.
Most young people I know would gladly pass up on free lunches for the comfort of an affordable pillow.