If you want DC talent, then be prepared to pay. A lot. As the urban hierarchy continues to reshuffle, the emerging landscape is dramatically segregated. Blame globalization. Companies are fleeing Spikytown:

As law firms continue to face pressures to become leaner and more efficient, options that will reap long-term savings on labor and real estate are becoming increasingly attractive. ...

... The firm settled on Nashville because of its relatively high level of education, proximity to universities, professional sports teams, cultural attractions and overall quality of life. It is also, Whelan said, a “long-term labor play.”

“If you look at the salary cost differential between the various markets ... you’ll see the Nashville market is 4 to 6 percent below the national average but the places we have [offices with professional services staff] are 30 percent above the national average,” said Whelan, who declined to provide specific cost savings figures. “We saw the same thing in rental rates.”


Long-term savings. Long-term labor play. Talent in Washington, DC is overpriced. The rise of Nashville or Wheeling is the Rise of the Flat World Class. Ditch the traffic. Dig the revitalized neighborhood. Be a big fish in a small pond. Move back to the Rust Belt. Abandon expectation and remain vast.

Fact is, your company doesn't need New York City density. You can get the same creative superstars in Nashville at a fraction of the cost. The beauty of this arrangement is that everyone is happier. Those who stick it out in DC will make tons of money. Nashville-bound will benefit from a greater quality of life. Nimble companies will win the war for talent.