Site Lead at Neueda’s Malaga office, Gema Giles, looks at the effect remote working could have on established global tech hubs. 

Last week, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that with immediate effect the world’s largest social network would be making most of its open roles available for remote recruiting and hiring. Additionally, many of the company’s 48,000 global employees will be able to make the switch later this year, with Zuckerberg predicting that Facebook will consist of a mostly remote workforce within the next decade. 

His comments were particularly interesting given that, until recently, Facebook paid new hires a bonus of up to $15,000 to live near its Menlo Park headquarters. It also comes hot on the heels of Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, announcing that employees would be able to work from home “forever”, as well as Amazon extending its work-from-home policy until at least early October. 

Despite COVID-19 forcing the hand of businesses, the fact that many are embracing a permanent shift to remote working even as lockdown starts to lift is telling. Of course, there are significant monetary savings organisations stand to make in relation to real estate and associated onsite employee costs. However, the benefits of a remote workforce are more far-reaching and will have a significant knock-on effect for other industries too. 

Access to talent 

The shift in working practices has the potential to change the complexion of tech hubs across the world. Previously, organisations set up headquarters in areas renowned for their proximity to the best talent, leading to the rise of centres such as Silicon Valley, London, Belfast, Malaga and Berlin, to name a few. 

Now, remote working will dramatically expand the talent pool that’s available to businesses, as well as reduce the amount of time that’s necessary to find a suitable candidate for the job. The benefits will be two-fold: 

  1. Organisations have the option to relocate their operations to more affordable locations without missing out on talent. 
  2. Candidates have a plethora of employment options and can choose to live in more affordable locations outside of traditionally high-priced tech hubs. 

The end of the tech hub? 

With remote work providing flexibility for both organisations and employees, concentrated tech hubs could indeed start to disperse. What we have in its place is one digitally connected global hub where physical location is no longer a factor. 

The disbursement of tech talent to regional towns will also have a positive effect on these areas. Professionals working from home permanently means tech salaries will no longer be spent on daily commutes or pricey food and drink in city hubs. Instead, the money will be invested closer to home, giving local and independent businesses a considerable boost and opportunity for growth. 

As a result, tech hubs, as we know them, may become less prominent in the long-run. However, remote working will potentially give rise to the concept of the ‘micro tech community’ in regional towns across the world, which is a potentially exciting new era for all of us.