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A recent survey by San Francisco Partners found that 65% of San Francisco-based dot-com employees would not consider leaving San Francisco. And the competition for the financial or development-focused job holders among them is such that very likely, they’ll never have to. But in the realm of administrative and support services, the handful of Bay-area companies that are transferring those functions to less expensive surroundings may signal more of the same to come if the moves make the difference between profits and margins that are slim to non-existent.
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time a retailer has used the strategy successfully-some 30 years ago it worked for direct marketer Lands’ End, which moved operations from Chicago to the wide open spaces of dairyland in Dodgeville, Wis.
“This was definitely a part of the company’s thinking,” says a Lands’ End spokeswoman. “The work ethic is incredible here, and given the seasonal nature of our business, which peaks around the Christmas holidays, we’re able to get lots of good seasonal workers-things slow down on farms in the winter. We also wanted land at lower prices and some of the tax breaks you can get from a community that’s less populated. Were we the predecessors of these dot-coms? I guess the thinking is about the same.”