HSBC offering cash sweeteners to persuade staff to relocate to Birmingham

How the new HSBC UK office will look

HSBC is having to offer cash inducements to its London-based employees in an attempt to persuade them to relocate to Birmingham, reports have claimed.

Canary Wharf staff are being offered sweeteners of up to £2,500, according to a report in The Guardian.

The newspaper claims the bank has created a special bonus scheme to fill the 1,040 positions it aims to bring to Birmingham when its new UK banking headquarters opens at Arena Central next year.

The report claims the bank is struggling to secure enough staff to make the 120-mile move to the West Midlands.

The incentive scheme offers cash bonuses of between £750 and £2,500 – dependent on seniority – to encourage staff to relocate.

According to the report, the bank has so far only managed to persuade around the half the staff it needs to make the move.

The bank’s chief executive, António Simões is quoted in the article as saying despite the low take-up, the bank is ahead of where it expected to be at this stage in terms of securing staff.

However, he admits the operation has been challenging.

So far, only around 53% of staff have committed to the relocation.

Mr Simões said it had proven tricky to persuade certain specialists, particularly those in marketing and communications, to commit to the move.

Further inducements to senior staff include support for housing and schooling costs.

One of the first to commit to the move has been Lucy Williams, Head of Compliance at HSBC.

Ms Williams was guest speaker at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP’s annual conference last year, during which she told delegates that Birmingham and the wider city-region had so much to offer the rest of the country in terms of investment potential and quality of life – and yet the rest of the country remained blissfully unaware of the opportunities.

Those attending the meeting were shown a video of Ms Williams at her previous home in Kent and the journey she had taken relocating her family to the second city.

She said the welcome she had received since moving to the area had been wonderful and she was now proud to call the city her home.

However, she said the self-deprecating nature of people in Birmingham was causing real problems for the way it was perceived.

“I had not been to Birmingham for 20 years up until the bank’s decision to relocate but when I arrived I was absolutely amazed by the changes that had taken place,” she told the audience.