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MUMBAI : IBM is expanding base beyond metros to address a diverse set of client requirements and to tap into a larger talent pool. The move to penetrate into central India, Kochi, Ahmedabad, and suburbs of cities such as Hyderabad has a cost advantage as well, it said.

“Having work locations beyond the metros will help us address growing client requirements, as well as provide flexibility for our employees," said Thirukkumaran Nagarajan, vice-president and head of human resources, IBM India/South Asia.

“We are expanding because there is incredible talent and skill sets in these cities. It is also price competitive and cost competitive to an extent," he said.

IBM’s expansion plans come on the back of many tech and startups moving beyond metros.

On 15 March, Mint had published that Tech Mahindra is also expanding into various tier-II cities to find and attract the best talent.

“We expect more than 10% of our new hires to come from tier-II cities. It is helping us attract talent," C.P. Gurnani, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), Tech Mahindra had told Mint.

“Very good talent" is available in places such as Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Indore, Vijayawada, and Coimbatore, Gurnani had said.

However, this shift may not work for all industries. “Consumer and fast-moving consumer goods not only need office space and talent but also need access to supply chains. Tech and startups on the other hand can afford to have more flexible approaches to their work," said Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services. Mysuru, Coimbatore, and Visakhapatnam are some of the prominent cities where tech firms and startups are strengthening bases.

Since inception, IBM India has its regional headquarters in Bengaluru and now has offices across many cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Pune.

Another advantage of moving to smaller towns is the larger catchment from where companies can meet their diversity targets.

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