Work From Anywhere promotes tier-2 towns as talent hubs | India Business News

MUMBAI: A year after several organisations adopted a ‘work from anywhere’ policy, tier-2 cities like Kochi, Guwahati, Jaipur, Indore and Mysore are said to have emerged as talent hubs.
Last year, Axis Bank launched its ‘GIG-A-Opportunities’ programme to access new talent pools based not on geographic location, but skill. In the pilot project of 100 roles last fiscal, the bank hired both specialist freelancers and full-time employees in a work-from-anywhere format. Up to 60% of the hires were from across tier-2 towns.
Axis Bank president & HR head Rajkamal Vempati, said, “These are all roles that are part of central teams and would have otherwise been based in Mumbai. The bank has found that talent both — in new age technology functions and traditional banking roles, such as audit — is available in cities like Jaipur, Lucknow and Indore where candidates have been selected over those based in large cities.”

According to Talent500, there has been a 30-40% increase in demand for workforce in tier-2 cities within tech teams across sectors. Talent500 co-founder Vikram Ahuja said cities like Kochi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Indore are getting a lot of attention now because of good talent availability. “There’s talent that has gone back to these places and suddenly this notion that you need to be in Bengaluru or any other metro to live a certain lifestyle is no longer true,” said Ahuja. “Covid has made us all remote workers. In a post-pandemic world, remote won’t just be the new normal, but instead be a strategic advantage for companies as they build out their teams.”
As companies look for good talent, location is no longer a priority. Chocolate major Mondelez India has also realised that there are a bunch of roles that can be done in a location-agnostic way. Last year, when Mondelez India hired a leader for one of its centres of expertise, the employee was based in Delhi. The agreement was that when offices reopen, this employee could come to Mumbai. It’s been a year now and the company says it’s working out well even if the employee operates from another location.
Mondelez has identified a set of roles that it feels can actually operate from anywhere. There would, however, be roles that remain location-specific. But the numbers that are location-agnostic are surely on the rise.
Mondelez India HR director Mahalakshmi R said, “We realise that despite jobs being located anywhere, and talent joining the organisation virtually, our attempt is to offer candidates the signature Mondelez experience when we onboard people online. This is to ensure we create a comfort level and a feeling of psychological safety at work.” Mondelez’s ‘FlexAble’ programme focuses on how leaders can inspire talent who might be working remotely.
Meanwhile, there is already a good ecosystem of entrepreneurs and engineers in tier-2 towns, which is attracting talent. “Earlier, what used to happen is that companies would hire this talent and then ask them to relocate to a Mumbai or a Bengaluru. A lot of these people are now saying, ‘I’m living in Bhubaneswar or Kochi and my quality of life is great and my cost of living is one-third that of a Bengaluru, so I would like to work from here’. Realising this, companies are saying we will go where the talent exists and not expect them to relocate,” said Ahuja.