Now, companies eye rural areas to tap fresh talents

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on August 24, 2020

C.K. Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, CavinKare (file photo)

In a recent webinar, CavinKare Chairman CK Ranganathan said with remote working here to stay, companies no longer need to look for talent only in metros but can also tap from rural areas, which will make a very big difference in terms of addressing the economic disparity between metro and small-town people.

During his turn, Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu, who is already experimenting with small rural office concepts, also highlighted the vast pool of talented workforce available in non-urban areas.

Beyond metros

CavinKare and Zoho are not the only companies thinking on these lines. With remote working breaking geographical and time barriers, many companies are actively looking to beyond metros for fresh talents.

“The work from home has broken all the boundaries. People who have gone back to their hometown from metros have started to work from there, which has created a kind of contagion,” Alok Kumar, Senior Director - Sales, Account Management and Global Accounts at ManpowerGroup India, said, adding: “People who have gone back are now referring their friends and we are seeing many such takers of the job recently.”

“Especially in EdTech where there is currently a huge demand, employers are seeing a good supply of talent from non-metro and semi-urban areas,” Kumar added.

In the recent edition of Naukri JobSpeak, Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer,, said: “While the y-o-y hiring is still impacted, leading to a decline of 47 per cent in July 20, it is interesting to see emerging cities leading the way in job market recovery versus metros, which are declining by more than 50 per cent.”

Cost-cutting measures

Recruitment experts also feel that with companies trying to reduce their wage bills, hiring people from rural areas makes sense since people from Tier 2 and 3 towns can be hired at lesser salaries when compared to those in metros.

Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice-President, TeamLease Services, said there has been over 80 per cent increase in job applications when compared to pre-Covid times from Tier 2 & 3 cities.

“From the employer perspective, this new way of work will continue for a long time, and has in a way shifted the way employers are now looking at getting talent,” said Sharma, adding: “In the future, a call center could look at hiring call center agents from across the country without having to think about either getting them to migrate or only looking at the talent pool available within the city.”

However, executive search experts say while the remote working opportunities have opened up a vast pool of talent at entry or mid-level jobs, the exposure of people from non-metros is not commensurate enough to be hired for the top-management.

“As much as I want my next CEO or CFO to come from non-metro areas, people from those areas don’t have exposure,” said Amit Agarwal, Managing Partner & Regional Leader Asia Pacific - CFO & Financial Executive Practice, Stanton Chase India, adding: “Sitting in smaller towns, you have not been exposed to the size of the business that happens in larger corporate set-ups.”

“It’s a very good opportunity for youngsters in their early careers or those at middle management levels,” said Mala Chawla, Managing Partner & Global Practice Group Leader for Diversity and Inclusion, Stanton Chase India, adding: “But at CXO level, people don’t get hired based on their qualifications only but for their exposure and experience. We are moving in a good direction; it will be a very good opportunity for tomorrow’s CXOs, but for today it may take a little longer.”

Published on August 24, 2020

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