Luring Tech Talent Back Home Takes Sophistication, Not Sentiment.

As remote work shows no signs of slowing down in the technology space, several cities and states continue to explore all kinds of creative ways to lure more technical talent. One of the more unique approaches companies have taken is an outreach campaign to appeal to supremely talented technical workers in Silicon Valley to return to their roots in other geographic locations.

For example, let’s say you already had a previous connection to Chicago from being born and raised here. But several years ago, you took a job in California. It’s possible that returning to Chicago with your skill and a lower cost of living compared to California would pay great dividends as a real “comeback” talent, right?

It’s an excellent concept in theory, but we don’t see much of that approach happening in the real world or working among the highest levels of technical talent in an organization. Especially not in terms of leaving one company in one state to join another company in another state.

That said, the events that may very well happen in another year or two are more similar to what I’ve referred to as “The Great Reshuffling” – a moving about of high-level talent in different locations based on lifestyle choice while still working under the same employer.

If you’re the type of employee at, say, Facebook, who has performed very well, has been promoted at least once or twice and the company knows you’ve done well in working remotely, then a quality-of-life conversation can occur. So, if you grew up in the Chicago area and still have family and friends in the area, they may be a part of your quality of life. By moving to Chicago from Silicon Valley, you may also improve your quality of life if, instead of living in an apartment, you want a house of at least 3,000 square feet with a yard and a pool.

In a house of that size in Silicon Valley, you can expect to pay $3 million and up. If you’re making $300,000, you can’t afford that because you need to put down 20% and the taxes are high. But that story is likely very different if you’re based in the Midwest.

Therefore, the critical factor for people working remotely is that the less they give up, the more working remotely will be seen as desirable. At which point, cities like Chicago or even smaller states and cities such as Madison, Wisconsin or Vermont could become more populated to a certain degree.

Conversely, suppose someone believes they would be giving up a lot in terms of current career status (money, title, opportunities for advancement, responsibility). In that case, it’s a very tall order to get them to move back to their hometown.

States and cities are hedging their bets on this “boomerang” talent returning home, but there’s one scenario that works better than others: The person who long ago always had the intent to return, even before they left. They said, “I’m going to the coast today and that’ll be OK for a while, but I’m going to make it a goal to come back here because I know what I’m getting and it fits me.”

That may not necessarily mean leaving the company, however. More on this in a moment. In reality, we know that even those with intentions of returning home can change their minds and plans. Life happens, after all. In the most extreme example, consider Marc Andreessen, founder of Mosaic and Netscape, now a partner in his own Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen was born in Iowa and attended the University of Illinois in the early 1990s, but he’s not returning to the Midwest. Max Levchin attended the University of Illinois as well and then, later on, would connect with an unknown person at the time named Peter Thiel and founded a little company that became PayPal. We can safely say Max isn’t coming back this way to stay, either.

Talman Advantage #10: Stronger Negotiating Power On Your Side

The terms of your employment aren’t to be taken lightly. With our 30+ years of industry expertise, Roy Talman & Associates has a keen eye for detail during negotiations. In fact, if the help of an attorney is required for this purpose, we can suggest one. Can any recruiter offer the same result? Don’t wonder about the outcome. Stand with a recruiter who has the track record to negotiate firmly in your favor. Make the right call and Talk To Talman First.

A Smarter Strategy For Recruitment And Retention

Of course, those founders, inventors and venture capitalists don’t represent everybody.

Here’s what we do believe makes more sense: When a person can effectively work at the top tier level at a company without being required to be there consistently physically, perhaps they can be based out of where they prefer, such as their hometown, then fly back to company headquarters once per month or once per quarter for crucial in-person meetings.

To the point that this dynamic becomes the norm rather than an exception, allowing managers and directors to have increased say on the location of their permanent base while staying well connected to their employer, The Great Reshuffling will accelerate.

Despite what some CEOs in the financial and technology space have stated in wanting all employees to return to work, it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle regarding remote work. The shift is not temporary for many companies and could be essential to a candidate’s decision. But it’s not the only factor.

That’s why it makes all the sense in the world to Talk To Talman First.

As we understand what your organization values most in a “best of the best” hire, we can make recommendations based on each candidate’s ability to excel independently and respond to sophisticated challenges we’ve tested them with. In a changing world where remote and hybrid work is more expected as an option than ever, knowing how to position your company to new candidates while staying true to your values is the fine line that calls for the 40+ years of experience Roy Talman & Associates brings to every financial and technology recruitment engagement.