Talent acquisition can be dependent upon location, learn how to overcome that obstacle

It’s an understatement to claim a company’s workforce determines its success. A company is its workforce, a coordinated team of qualified individuals who each have something to contribute.

Because of this, management hunts for the right talent to help them meet their bottom line. They review resume after resume, move through interview after interview to find the best applicant to fill an open position. If they struggle to compete for the best talent, however, the search can prove expensive and time-consuming.

Certain industries require extensive education and experience, limiting the pool of available candidates. Other industries, like construction, suffer from an already-competitive labor shortage that makes the talent search even more frenzied for executives. Regardless of the reason, any number of different variables can make the hiring process a headache.

While some industry-wide challenges are out of a business’ hands, they might want to reconsider one key factor in the talent search: location. What do business owners need to know about their location’s impact on their hiring efforts?

To provide a comprehensive picture, we’ll offer data on an important demographic and examples of how companies capitalize on location.

Location and the Millennial Demographic

Since millennials comprise almost 40 percent of today’s workforce, business owners first need to understand what appeals to them in a location. If they decide to rent a commercial property in a region with none of the qualities which draw young talent, they’ll reduce their number of enthusiastic and energetic applicants. What does it take to attract this crucial demographic?

Millennials are drawn to urban living, gravitating toward major metropolitan areas to pursue their careers. While this is common knowledge, it’s helpful to take a look at what features specifically attract young professionals to these cities. The presence of a large educational institution is a big factor, for instance, but cultural elements are easier for a business to promote in their own area.

Young people search for metros with a vibrant culture and thriving downtown center full of shops and restaurants. They want to live in a progressive city where they can meet their friends for drinks on a Friday, enjoy the nightlife on Saturday and spend their Sunday morning in a cute coffee shop. To summarize, millennials want a place where they can live life to the fullest not just work.

A Trend Toward Relocation

Across the nation, major companies with an eye on these workforce trends are picking up and re-establishing their headquarters in the most popular locations. In 2016, for example, Conagra moved from Omaha to Chicago to take advantage of the existing tech-savvy talent pool. Companies are even moving from the suburbs to downtown, with Boston seeing a surge in hiring focused in its urban center.

The most recent newsworthy example of relocation is Amazon’s decision to add its second headquarters in both New York City and Arlington, VA. While the much-hyped location search drew in 238 bids across the U.S. and Canada, ultimately, the deep talent pool in these large metro areas drove the company’s decision.

Competitive cities like New York, Chicago and Boston are widely known to have the attractive qualities millennials are looking for in an urban center. It makes sense for major corporations to relocate to hotspots in order to more easily attract the most competitive talent, particularly in tech fields.

What if Your Business Isn’t in a Hotspot?

Companies worried about their local talent pool can follow this relocation trend and make the more serious decision to migrate their offices into urban centers to seek out new talent. If management is willing to invest the time and money, the relocation process may pay off. It comes at a significant risk to their operation, however. After all, smaller, lower-cost cities are still seeing growth, and current employees may not want to move to an expensive urban center.

Relocation isn’t the only strategy businesses can consider. Up-and-coming areas can still offer the community amenities that young professionals value most. When smaller, otherwise overlooked cities invest in their local culture, they can drive more interest from millennials who might have had their eyes on Philadelphia or Chicago. In fact, businesses can spur this growth with their own efforts.

Companies can drive employee engagement with their current location by partnering with local organizations and creating community-based events. Offering discounts at local eateries or hosting social events at popular locations can showcase what smaller cities have to offer local talent. While it may not drive cutting-edge talent to the area, these efforts can keep local professionals — who may otherwise seek work elsewhere — interested in sticking around.

These up-and-coming cities also have a major benefit over the tech hubs of San Francisco and New York City. Many have the urban lifestyles and trendy eateries professionals enjoy without the staggering cost of living. Young professionals who are interested in homeownership and the potential to raise a family may find the likes of Omaha and Charlotte increasingly attractive in their job searches.

Investing in Your Business’ Location

An executive can spend hours interviewing candidate after candidate, exhausted over their lack of options. They might attribute it to their industry or the level of experience necessary for the position, but in many cases, location is the culprit. A poor location doesn’t cultivate qualified professionals, and it certainly doesn’t attract them.

Understanding the effect location has on a business’ talent pool can allow companies to look at their options. For many businesses, moving makes the most sense. For others, capitalizing on the strength of their communities and investing their cities’ futures can strengthen the local workforce. Whatever you do, don’t forget to emphasize location in the hunt for new talent.


Written by: Holly Welles, BOSS Contributor

Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.