In today’s world, companies seek talented workers, who seek quality places, and quality places attract talented people. Talented employees are the backbone of any business. They are also the starting point for many strategic decisions, including where corporate occupiers should locate operations.
Workforce quality is paramount to core economic development interests such as business attraction, retention, and expansion. A recent study revealed that 95% of executives rate the availability of skilled labor as “very important” or “important” to their investment location decision. Source: Brookings-Metro Talent-driven-economic-development.
A recent Wall Street Journal article by Austen Hufford says, “College-educated workers are seen on the American factory floor.” What this means is that new manufacturing jobs are now requiring more advanced skills and degrees as opposed to that of factory workers in previous generations. To be clear, manufacturers aren’t necessarily requiring college degrees, but more companies are offering what the National Skills Coalition calls “middle-skills careers,” or jobs that require education that falls between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree.
Corporate decision-makers look at the quality of life in a community or region when considering an expansion or relocation because they know today’s top talent wants to live in a community or region with a quality of life.
“Corporate Expansions Will Be in Suburbs and Mid-Sized Cities: Suburban areas and mid-size cities, followed by rural areas, will be the biggest winners of new corporate expansions and relocations, with large urban areas falling to the bottom of the list.”
– Source: Area Development the leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation.
As young tech leaders and other millennials transition into the family-oriented phases of their lives, there’s going to be more of a need to get out of the city and find alternative locations with affordable housing in a place where they want to raise their kids.
To remain competitive in the twenty-first century, policy agendas should focus aggressively on growing and attracting talent. Increasingly, businesses want to be based where talent wants to be, and for those people, factors such as housing, cost of living, and quality of life influence that decision.
Businesses looking to attract and retain the best employees need to make strategic decisions not just about who they hire, but where. That means setting up operations in cities and towns where top talent is most likely to want to live, work and play. CBRE
Quality places can be as important —or more important —than available jobs in attracting and retaining talent. This simple reason is many talented workers can live anywhere they want. Increasingly, they are choosing where to live based on the quality of places involved.
There is a Growing Demand for “Live-Work-Play” Communities. Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are becoming the dominant generation, and through sheer force of numbers are bringing with them new ways to work, live, and play. Area Development.
The pace of small towns is often a welcome change for millennials already burned out on the demands of urban life. Perhaps that’s why as many as 39% have indicated a preference for living in small towns over big cities. Leaving crowded metro areas means ditching traffic congestion, cramped and noisy neighborhoods, and unaffordable housing prices. Source: route-fifty.
Companies of all sizes now factor quality-of-life variables into their location decisions. Increasingly, talented workers expect to live in communities that have recreational and cultural amenities and are safe, accessible, attractive, and vibrant. It becomes a virtuous circle: Firms seek talented workers, who seek quality places, and quality places continue to attract new residents, jobs, and investment.