Big Idea 2013: Tech Shortage Solved By Remote Workers

In 2013, top technology companies will aggressively expand their hiring by seeking out remote technical talent.  Instead of relocating new hires, these companies will hire resources where they currently live and integrate them into the workforce remotely.  Top talent across the country will will help fill the shortage of  technical talent on the coasts.

Many technology companies on the coasts are running out of top technical talent to hire locally.  Companies like LinkedIn, Salesforce, Google and Amazon are starting to seek out talent in such remote locations as Kansas City and Cleveland because talent is increasingly hard to find locally.

Take, for example, LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is located in Mountain View, California which means it has to compete with companies like Google, Intuit, Mozilla, Symantec, and many smaller start-up companies.  The local talent pool is starting to run dry.

Traditional Solutions Are Not Working

Traditionally this sort of problem has been solved in two ways:

  1. Companies searched for talent in other markets and paid them to relocate
  2. Companies opened offices in other markets so that they could tap into talent in that new market

These traditional solutions come with their own problems.  Paying to relocate talent is expensive.  It is often very expensive given the fact that an unusually high number of home owners are upside down on their mortgages.  The down housing market makes people less likely to move and more expensive to relocate.  Also, top talent in mid-western or southern locations may have their own reasons for not already living on the coasts.

At the same time, opening offices in other markets to acquire talent local to that market still limits companies to local talent – now in two markets instead of just one.  Talent is still hard to find because people must live close to one of the two offices.

Hiring Remote Workers Has Big Advantages

Hiring remote workers solves the obvious problem of finding top talent when the local talent pool has run dry but it also has other big advantages.  Remote technology workers are more happy, more productive, better team players, and less likely to quit which reduces the cost of  employee turnover.

Hiring remote workers reduces the cost of office space because remote workers work from their own homes.  The company saves the cost of space, electricity, heat, networking, maintenance, property tax, etc.

Many big companies have already figured this out.  As companies add more remote offices, workers are becoming more accustomed to working with each other remotely and across time zones.  Workers collaborating together from two different offices in two different geographies is much the same as collaborating together from two different home offices.  Big companies such as IBM and smaller companies such as WordPress have figured out how to leverage the power of remote workers and reap the rewards of lower cost, higher productivity and a more satisfied workforce.

In 2013, smart technology companies will recognize the benefits of hiring top talent to work from home in remote markets and expand their workforce with top technical talent from other markets instead of scraping the bottom of the local talent pool.


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