As a NY-based recruiter in the financial service industry for the last 25 years, I have seen many investment banks, asset managers, and other financial service firms relocate segments of their businesses to less expensive cost centers, in locations such as Texas, Utah, Florida, Charlotte, and Arizona. While these service relocations have been, up to now, generally restricted to specific functions, middle and back-office functions, project management, Risk Management, accounting, etc. – the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how we view working remotely, and how many job functions can be performed successfully from anywhere on the planet.
Envisioning a post-pandemic market then, remote working capabilities give firms greater flexibility and, in many instances, the best of both worlds. Businesses can now more readily move some functions to less expensive regions in the country while retaining current talent by giving them the option to work from home.
For financial firms located here in the tri-state area, this will become the new normal as businesses, even the most conservative ones, understand that working remotely can be successfully managed in a number of cases and, importantly, it can help retain top-performing employees.
Conversely, for those firms outside major metropolitan areas, attracting talent hasn’t always been easy. Perfect candidates with the right resume balance of experience and capability were often reluctant to uproot themselves and family – even when an attractive relocation package was proffered. It was common for many candidates to drop out, late in the running, when they realized relocation would be too burdensome and a deal-breaker.
Post COVID-19, those same firms might be in a position to hire the qualified candidate, without incurring relocation expenses, now that they realize geography needn’t play such a pivotal role in the hiring process. They can hire a strong candidate from another part of the country, and simply let them perform their job function remotely.
Obviously, not all positions are well suited for a remote hiring experience. But as this health crisis comes to an end, and business returns to normal, it’s sure to be a new market reality that geography will play less of deciding factor when it comes to the retaining and hiring of employees.