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Since the pandemic has opened the door to many more remote work opportunities, the ability for companies to pull from a pool of highly-talented workers outside of major metropolitans has grown. Rural areas are often lacking in advanced career opportunities but offer lower costs of living. Businesses that outsource work to these areas can expect to pay salaries that are often 40% less than if they were hiring urban workers with comparable skills. Careers are no longer bound by geography, and hybrid work environments are increasingly becoming the norm. Whether partnering with an outsourcing agency or adding remote workers to your permanent staff, a rural sourcing strategy can save money, provide flexibility, and diversify talent pipelines, all while delivering high quality jobs to areas that lack them.
This guide to rural sourcing will help you understand:
Rural sourcing is one of several different ways companies can add expertise and fill knowledge gaps in their organization. It involves expanding your recruiting efforts beyond metropolitan areas within your home country. Companies can diversify their talent pipeline while simultaneously reducing salary expenses. Rural sourcing can also include working with an agency to outsource work to rural areas, allowing businesses to fill knowledge gaps without adding to their permanent, in-house staff.
Although the term outsourcing often makes us think of shipping work overseas, that is not always necessarily the case. National rural outsourcing involves sending work to domestic service providers located outside of major business hubs, where both the cost of living and business operating expenses are lower.
Rural sourcing is often a good option when a business requires deep knowledge of a topic, like technology or law, or a particular technical skillset, be it software development, data analysis, or marketing automation. Rurally sourcing high-skill roles gives cost-saving options and a deeper talent pool when recruiting for permanent staff. Alternatively, by working with a rural outsourcing provider, you can fill organizational knowledge and skill gaps with the flexibility to staff up or down with project demands.
Like international outsourcing, domestic rural sourcing offers the benefits of lower costs of labor and access to a larger, diverse talent pool. However, rural sourcing offers some additional advantages as well, including cultural similarities, compatible time zones, and team members being closer to your clients. Meeting with rural team members face-to-face can be possible with a short plane or car ride, not a jet lag inducing international journey.u00a0
Additionally, focusing on rural sourcing may help you avoid any transnational legal issues. Transaction costs, like payroll, can also be less expensive and time consuming, compared to international sourcing.
Data security is increasingly a concern for every company. Avoiding major data leaks or breaches is a top priority. Working domestically with rural sources, you know you will be working with partners subject to US regulations, and robust data privacy standards.
u00a0Rural sourcing also mitigates security risks in two primary ways:
u201cRuralu201d is often a catch-all term for regions outside concentrated business centers, like New York City, San Francisco, or Chicago. There are many small and mid-sized college towns that fit the definition of rural which have a highly educated population and relatively low cost of living but limited local job opportunities. Professional job opportunities are often highly sought after in rural areas, which means employee retention is high, turnover is low, and the work is high quality and consistent.
Rural sourcing means your team is always within three time zones of each other. Communication is easier, and projects come together more efficiently. Virtual meetings can be scheduled conveniently for all parties, improving team cohesion and productivity.
Pursuing a rural sourcing strategy can expand your access to skilled professionals. Your talent pool grows, and business expenses can shrink. Partnering with a rural outsourcing agency can give your organization many of the benefits of adding domestic, permanent staff, but without the hiring, training, and managing necessary if you were to add those resources in-house.
How can you know if rurally sourcing permanent staff or relying on a rural outsourcing provider is the right choice for your business? Think about your short-term needs while keeping an eye on the big picture. Does your industry require frequent one-off projects and high variability in workload? Working with an outsourcing provider will give you the flexibility to meet project demands and upswings in work without adding more permanent staff than you may typically need. Or perhaps you are more focused on building a company culture and developing talent to help you take on future growth. Using rural sourcing to hire in-house can be a cost-efficient way to grow your company and develop your internal talent base.
In developing your rural sourcing strategy, it may even be determined that a combination of internal rural sourcing and working with an outsourcing partner is the best choice for your business. Whatever mix you choose, the benefits of pursuing a nationwide rural sourcing strategy are clear. You can save money and significantly expand your talent pool without sacrificing the quality of your team’s communications, or the security of your organization’s data and operations.
Is your company looking to partner with a rural outsourcing provider? Read our guide on the Essential Questions to Evaluate Outsourcing Providers, and make sure youu2019re choosing the best partner for your needs.