For millennia, cities have been a key feature of civilizations and economies because they serve as a nexus for human interaction. Individuals have greater access to commerce and culture in cities, and companies generally have a better chance of selling goods and services, as well as greater access to talent pools.
Consequently, most top companies’ headquarters or bases of operations are located in urban areas, and they tend to recruit largely in their local metropolitan area.
When companies do recruit more broadly, they usually expect new recruits to relocate to their location.
COVID Upends the Market for Talent
But the widespread shift to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to change all of that. Companies across the country—and across the world—have found they are generally able to carry on business as usual without having staff physically in the office.
By extension, this also means that staff don’t even need to be within close proximity to the company they work for.
There are several important implications for this development.
Benefits of a Broader Market
For one, companies don’t necessarily need to have established offices in major cities for staff purposes, although such locations might still be desirable for other reasons, such as proximity to markets or infrastructure. A company looking to fill a remote-compatible position could theoretically be located anywhere, and consequently, so could the employee. This means employers can cast a much broader net in their recruitment efforts, opening up an exponentially greater talent pool.
There have certainly been enormous economic and logistical challenges facing many companies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But great companies always look for the silver lining in any situation.
In the case of the pandemic, the widespread shift to remote work means that companies that can pursue that model long term have a vastly expanded talent pool from which to recruit employees. HR should take advantage of this development as a long-term personnel strategy.