With the concentration of tech talent in the San Francisco bay area and Silicon Valley, you might question why any company that relies on engineering and technical staffing would locate anywhere else, but companies like Voices.com (London, Ontario), SendGrid (Boulder), and Tailwinds (Oklahoma City) have proven that tech startups can find success outside of Silicon Valley.
In the April 6th, 2014 issue of The Motley Fool, Danny Maloney owner of Tailwinds, a company that developed and sells analytics software (that used by Pinterest), talks about locating their corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City and touts its affordability. “In fact, almost all the costs associated with starting a business in Oklahoma City are lower than they would be in places like San Francisco or New York. Rent is lower, the salaries required to attract talent are lower, and even the cost of food, and power are lower.”
One of the most obvious drawbacks to seemly remote locations is the smaller pool of tech talent. A way to mitigate this is to locate close to a university with strong computer science or engineering program. It is also a good idea to interview graduates from the area or region who might be interested in living in a smaller city.
Silicon Valley and Manhattan may seem like exciting places to live for young entrepreneurs and software developers, but both areas have a very high cost of living. Companies trying to attract candidates from these tech hubs should emphasize how much further a candidate’s paycheck will go and as mentioned in our blog post on attracting talent to remote locations.
Candidates do not have to feel like they are giving up all the perks found in tech hubs. With the savings companies realize on everything from office supplies to the purchase of office space, they can turn their corporate headquarters into something that rivals those in Silicon Valley.
David Ciccarelli of Voices.com, an online marketplace for voice talent based in London, Ontario, suggests allowing employees to create a social committee, and provide them a budget. “The group builds on the “elements of fun” that only our mid-sized city can offer, while also touching on experiences that one can have – and seeks- in every city. I assure you, these events are just as fun in your small town as they would be in a larger center, if not more so. It’s initiatives like these that will make the sell to a potential new employee an easier one.”
Finding and keeping top talent can be a challenge to any company, but with a little extra effort, those companies located outside of tech hubs can attract the right candidates at a fraction of the cost of doing business in Silicon Valley.