As the pandemic pushed people to head back to their hometowns from the metro cities, it has given rise to a new ecosystem in tier 2 and tier 3 cities across the country. Many companies are actively looking beyond metros to recruit fresh talent, at times, at lesser salaries.
The questions about measuring productivity, how to manage remote workforce, and how to ensure high engagement with employees while working-from-home are pertinent, the acceptance that many new senior / middle management employees may never work from the head office is here to stay.
This change didn’t occur overnight. In the early months of the pandemic there was an obvious reluctance from potential candidates to change jobs, particularly with all the confusion amongst worrying about Covid 19, remote working, retrenchment, and salary restructuring. As the companies warmed up to the idea of remote working, with new joiners continuing to work from non-metro locations, the recruitment ecosystem too underwent a change. It has opened up to the opportunities that come with the new talent pool that continues to live in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Certain sectors have taken immediate benefit from this development. Businesses that run on digital platforms are the first ones to dip into the non-metro talent pool, and for obvious reasons. Our regular interactions with industry leaders in this space has only ratified this trend and thought.
I would like to quote Siddhartha Roy, CEO, Hungama Digital, here who believes that this is a significant and permanent shift. As an organisation they are not only encouraging employees to work from home, they are also actively hiring middle and senior management employees from any location if they are qualified and suitable for the role. Similarly, Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technology, feels that remote working is here to stay, especially for middle management and junior management roles, and where roles are more in the nature of individual contributor across performance marketing, data analytics, animation design etc.
The lower cost of living in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities also means higher saving and, therefore, higher disposable income for employees, which is obvious with the increasing consumption of branded consumer products in these cities. This move should also help reduce the economic disparity that prevails between the urban and non-urban population and, therefore, accelerate economic and social growth of these cities.
Due to this strategic shift in recruitment strategy, there are significant savings in the costs for the corporate, thus, a direct impact on bottom-line. The lower cost of living in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities also means higher saving and, therefore, higher disposable income for employees, which is obvious with the increasing consumption of branded consumer products in these cities. This move should also help reduce the economic disparity that prevails between the urban and non-urban population and, therefore, accelerate economic and social growth of these cities.
As more people get hired from the tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the recruiters will also be open to working with local educational institutes for campus recruitment, thus, opening the floodgate of opportunities for candidates. As the CCO for Merit Nation, Mohit Chobey led the pivoting in the business procurement and recruitment strategy. They sought the services of sales professionals with counseling skills over the phone and technology platforms. Given the paucity of time, with the abrupt change in business scenario, recruitment of resources that could hit the ground running became essential, which were in ample supply in the travel industry. They actively partnered with 3 travel firms and on-boarded talent scattered across the hinterland. A win-win situation!
Edtech, gaming, e-commerce, fintech all have displayed a surge in demand for talent in recent times. Providentially, recruiters found the talent in abundance in the non-metro cities and semi-urban areas. Needless to say, the emerging cities are leading the way in the job market as compared to the metro cities. Even though the new talent pool may be at relatively lesser salaries, as compared to those in metros, these opportunities enable the candidates to expose themselves to new business areas and enhance their profiles.
Employers are now open to hiring from across the globe without worrying about their migration or limiting the reach to the talents within an area or city. The opportunities may be vast for the entry/mid-level jobs for now, but it is just a matter of time when companies will gradually shift towards hiring the top level management too, based on the exposure and experience of an individual.
Views are personal. Agarwal (extreme left) is managing partner, Stanton Chase India. Nigam is a partner at Stanton Chase India.