Yet another San Francisco company is offering its employees a cash payment to leave costly cities for cheaper locales like Raleigh.
Payments firm Stripe is now offering eligible employees who move out of high-priced cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York a one-time payment of $20,000.
While those employees would also get a 10 percent cut to their base salary, their cash could go a lot further in a city like Raleigh, according to local economic developers. And they want to make sure those workers know it too.
“Economic development in our minds is much more than business recruitment,” said Michael Haley, executive director of Wake County Economic Development, noting that tech talent attraction “has been something we’ve been focused on for some time, primarily because we know talent is such a key driver. … Talent is critical to the success of the region.”
So Haley – and economic developers like him – are brainstorming ways to tell the region’s story, and to get their message in front of employees like those at Stripe, people who suddenly have choices about where they plug in their laptops.
Luring more technology workers to the state does more than increase the local tax base, Haley said. It augments the tech talent pool already credited with helping the region win major projects, from Bandwidth’s new headquarters to Policygenius’ new Durham hub.
And he said the county has aggressive plans to market itself to both companies and remote workers across the country.
“You have to tell your story and tell this top-tier talent of all the opportunities that are available here,” he said. “it’s a great story to tell.”
To tell that story, Haley’s team is partnering with the Research Triangle Regional Partnership to launch a six-month digital marketing campaign aimed at recruiting companies and talent. The campaign will specifically target executive-level decision-makers in the Northeast corridor and on the West Coast. And the focus will be on selling the Research Triangle area as a leading location for business and access to talent.
Ryan Combs, executive director of RTRP, said the campaign has been in the works since June. Launching a website is phase one.“For right now we’re going to concentrate on the digital marketing piece and, as we go and get feedback from that, we’ll do more things in California,” he said. “We’re fired up. We’re just about to launch our homepage.”
According to RTRP, the Research Triangle region has grown 18 percent over the last decade, and 53 percent of the growth has come from residents moving from other states. In the last four years alone, New York and California have contributed to 18.4 percent of the local growth.
And local officials aren’t the only ones fighting for West Coast talent.
Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, said his team is exploring new ways to get remote workers from other states to call North Carolina home.
“Generally speaking, later this year, we’re eager to launch a business marketing campaign, which will be funded from one-time Covid-19 relief dollars contained in the recovery package that the governor and Legislature approved a couple of weeks ago,” he said in an email.
The relief bill includes $1 million in funds for business recruitment marketing and branding and, Chung said, “although the primary audience for the campaign will be businesses thinking about where to expand and locate, we believe much of the messaging is adaptable to focus on professionals who may also be looking to relocate because they’re now permitted to work remotely full-time and who may be open to North Carolina as their new home.”
The dollars have to be spent before the end of 2020. Chung said the team is well underway when it comes to planning and should launch the campaign this fall.
North Carolina attracting tech workers from out of state is not a new phenomenon.
Already, many remote workers are vacating cities such as San Francisco and New York for less costly metros such as Raleigh. But Covid, coupled with rising taxes in California, is expected to widen that exodus. And that could mean big opportunity for area coworking spots, many of which have seen an impact from the pandemic.
Jess Porta, director of Raleigh Founded, the coworking spot previously known as HQ Raleigh, said her team has already “seen an increase in remote workers and branches of companies overall” in recent months.
And that’s without a dedicated marketing campaign – though Raleigh Founded does work with local groups to support their efforts.
Chung said his team is constantly coming up with ideas for more ways to reel talent into North Carolina. And he has repeatedly said that the state’s talent pool is its top attractant when it comes to landing relocating and expanding companies – not just incentives.
Stripe isn’t alone. Its relocation offer comes as other California employers such as Facebook, Square and Twitter have told their employees they can work remotely permanently.
And Bay Area financial advisers told TBJ sister paper San Francisco Business Times that they expect other companies to follow suit.
“The trend to reduce the San Francisco and California workforce will continue now that many of us have been working from home for the past several months, and companies are seeing that it can work,” Paul Bleeg, a partner with accounting firm EisnerAmper in San Francisco, told the outlet. “If it can work, why not reduce your expensive footprint in California? The cost savings could be substantial.”
Brian Reid, Triangle region president for TowneBank, said the move makes financial sense, even with Stripe’s 10 percent pay cut – particularly with those who already have equity in a home in higher-priced California.
“San Francisco is higher than 10 percent,” he said.
Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal