The city of Las Vegas is scouring West Coast tech hubs to pinpoint remote workers amenable to moving to Southern Nevada.
The campaign spans Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Innovate.vegas website to identify and connect with tech workers who might be interested in relocating.
“We have multiple different channels that we’re going to try to target specific prospects to consider moving to Las Vegas," said Business Development Manager Ryan Smith, who is heading the effort.
Smith said the campaign is very targeted and his team has made 2,000 connections through LinkedIn so far, leading to around 50 conversations with people a week.
Las Vegas’ weather, amenities, and relatively lower cost of living vs. San Francisco and Seattle are key selling points, Smith said.
There are other cities, like Tulsa, Okla., that are trying to lure tech workers there, but Smith said Las Vegas' other great advantage is its proximity to Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
A flight from Las Vegas is just an hour or so, instead of an entire day of travel from other places.
“All those reasons we have a distinct advantage over the other cities offering different incentives,” he said.
The budget for the program is between $15,000 and $20,000, but Smith sees a lot of benefits to the city. For a long time, Southern Nevada has been trying to establish a vibrant tech sector, and Smith said this initiative could help by establishing a qualified workforce.
“First and foremost to get our workforce numbers up. Our location quotient in the technology industry. So that we could be competitive for technology companies,” he said.
Smith noted that because of the pandemic many high-tech firms have told workers they can work from home permanently, which provided an opportunity to pitch Las Vegas as a cheaper alternative.
“We thought, ‘Wow! What better way to market to these people,” he said.
Besides appealing to established, well-paid workers, the initiative also hopes to strengthen the community by attracting people looking to put down roots. Smith said tech workers are known for exchanging ideas and creating their own startups in the cities where they live.
“As the city tries to build our innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, I think these people, these remote workers, could play a big role in that,” he said,
It is not just workers. Smith said tech companies are watching where their workers are moving to and could use that information to create satellite offices in cities where their workers are.
Tech publicist Sarah Evans, who is based in Las Vegas, said the Bay Area and other tech hubs should provide receptive audiences for the recruiting effort.
“Ironically, the very things that they’re promoting right now were the incentives to get us here,” said Evans, who moved to Las Vegas from Chicago eight years ago.
The great weather is at the top of her list but so is accessibility. She said everything in Chicago was a half hour to 45 minutes away, but here, she can get things done a lot faster
Another fun positive to living in Las Vegas is the city's interesting reputation.
"Living in Las Vegas is also a great conversation starter," she said, "Many people outside of Vegas, imagine people who live in Vegas as living in a casino or on the Strip, and it’s really fun to tell them about all of the other parts about Las Vegas.”
Evans said she has found great pockets of community and has built a staff for her business right here in Las Vegas. She has also had other friends in the tech sector reach out to her about moving their companies here, and she loves helping them navigate the process.
“I love playing Las Vegas matchmaker,” she said.
However, she would like the city to help with that effort after someone has already moved her. Evans thinks newcomers need support on everything including where to live, shop, and eat.
"I think the sense of loneliness when you move to a new location can be really overwhelming," she said, "I love to get connected with new folks who are moving here or who already live here."
Ryan Smith, business development manager, city of Las Vegas; Sarah Evans, tech publicist
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