With over 4200 AICTE-approved Engineering Colleges across India, producing about 15 lakh Engineering Graduates every year, the availability of good tech talent has never been an issue for software development companies in India. And with the country’s economy growing, IT Companies are hiring 10-11% more Tech Teams every year.
For companies located in Metropolitan or other tier-1 cities, the challenges with hiring do not lie in receiving a good number of applications, but selecting the best talent from the huge piles of applications made. On the other hand, technical recruiters in tier-2 cities face challenges on both fronts.
Let’s divide the pool of candidates into two categories: Local and Outstation.
There are some obvious and some unique challenges with local, tier-2 city candidates.
- Being brought up in a small city, they have grown up dreaming to live in a bigger city some day. These candidates and their parents see moving to a bigger city as a level up in the game of life. Hence, they seldom make an effort to explore good employment opportunities within their city or are even interested, while looking for a job change, if approached by a local recruiter.
- Charms of bigger cities, as portrayed in our movies and other influential media, leave an everlasting impression on the minds of these aspirants. That makes an offer from a tier-1 city always more attractive, irrespective of the learning opportunities one may get in a local company. Not to forget, a bigger city means a higher pay package too.
- People who look for on-site opportunities outside India prefer to join only MNCs, even if it results in a career gap, and we know the majority of the MNCs are located in tier-1 cities. Whereas, good IT companies operating in tier-2 cities offer equally good on-site opportunities. Yes, the frequency might be lower, but one’s probability of getting selected for the same is higher, as generally the company size would be smaller.
- Cringe alert! While recruiting Freshers from the local colleges, many times Recruiters are left with the majority of students who could not get any campus placement, do not possess a strong academic background, are not fresh graduates, or compelled to live and stay with their family for miscellaneous reasons. No good reason to hire.
- For recruiters, the smaller population of these cities also makes the local talent pipeline smaller, which forces them to look out for suitable candidates in other cities.
They come with a completely different package of challenging factors and are reluctant to relocate to a tier-2 city for various reasons.
- First is the stereotype that candidates might have about a particular, small city. For example, people think that it would be difficult to communicate with the locals as they must mostly speak their local language, they have misconceptions about the weather conditions, facilities, infrastructure and overall standard of life. Hence, most candidates would not pore over a job post or show interest in a recruitment call if it’s from a small city, which they have only heard about as a tourist place or being famous for garments!
- Another roadblock is the pay package. People assume that tier-2 city jobs would not pay as per their expectations or what they can easily fetch in a tier-1 city. However, the markets are now changing and good companies in small cities are offering competitive packages and growth like any other company in a big city does. That being said, yes, there’s definitely a gap in salaries, which is easily bridged by the lower cost of living in small cities.
- For recruiters, salary expectations become a showstopper when candidates expect the same package in a small city, as they would do in any metropolitan city.
- As there would not be many IT companies operating in a tier-2 city, candidates also assume a lack of further opportunities in the same city. This makes a long-term commitment and the inconvenience of moving to a smaller city for a short time a big ‘no-no’ for candidates.
- Cultural shock: India is diverse. Not everyone can settle comfortably in any city in India. It is definitely easier to find more people with the same ethnic background in tier-1 cities than in tier-2 cities.
- The family has a substantial role to play when moving to a smaller city. At times, even if the candidate is fine with relocating, his or her family might not be ready to let go of the comfort of big cities.
IT Companies in Tier-2 Cities Blooming
Then what keeps the IT companies in tier-2 cities blooming? Their growth has been recorded at a much faster rate in the past 6 years than ever before. The factors that contribute to this growth and need to be highlighted more by recruiters may include less traffic, less pollution, low crime rates, better health, equally good facilities, home to some of best educational institutes, less cost of living leading to more disposable income (even at a lesser salary than a tier-1 city), better work-life balance, etc., all of which, put together, lead to a much better and enriched quality of life. Another reason behind the blooming of tier-2 cities is that more and more foreign IT agencies are now preferring to outsource software development to the tech teams in tier-2 cities.
The Government must pay more attention to further improving the basic infrastructures and facilities, may provide more incentives or tax benefits to attract bigger IT companies to open offices in smaller cities, and gradually distribute the population burden from tier-1 cities to tier-2 and -3 cities. Tier-2 and -3 cities have become a talent hub. Recruiters in tier-2 cities try to tap the local talent first. As they already understand the life of a small city, they are more likely to be a long-term asset. Other things that might ease recruitment and make it more effective include reaching out to the masses through different media, employer branding, employee referrals, portraying the accurate picture of the city’s lifestyle to candidates, staying connected with potential candidates through online professional platforms, customizing email/message templates as per the target talent-market, targeting candidates who have an affinity for what the city has at its best, and leveraging the city’s benefits.
IT companies in tier-2 cities should be prepared for recruitment challenges. But despite all hurdles, a thoughtful strategy can spell success.