Notes on Recruiting Talent in a Knowledge Economy

As part of my work with Joe Urban, I was invited to the Minnesota Chapter of the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group’s panel discussion on attracting and retaining young, creative people in Minnesota.

On the panel:

My notes from the conversation:

  • Labor shortage is pending; baby boomers are leaving their careers, women and men are participating in the workforce at the same rates.
  • Cities are and will continue to compete for people.
  • 25-34 year olds move – that’s who cities are competing for. This number is shrinking overall. College-educated single women is the most attractive sub-group.
  • How the Twin Cities is doing: 5th in nation of college-degree or better with 25-34 year old. Education offsets declining populace.
  • Young people 34% more likely to live within 3 miles of a city’s center than the Americans overall.
  • Does your city have smart people living in the center?
  • Important factors in deciding on a city; “Will I be able to pursue the life I want in this city?”, “I want to be able to stumble onto the fun.”, “Is there tolerance for failure?”
  • 25-34 year olds have the most business starts than any other demographic.
  • Challenges for the Twin Cities; climate, men marrying young, it’s not LA/NY/London, cost of living is high, difficult for people to get established, too many surface parking lots. I see most of these issues common to all cities.
  • Strengths of the Twin Cities; perfect mesh of east coast sophistication and west coast flair, the great work happens in the winter.
  • We have 3 downtowns; Minneapolis, St. Paul, University. There needs to be a corridor and light rail connecting the 3.
  • Downtown Minneapolis is not Minneapolis’ best asset.
  • The skyways should be a tourist attraction
  • The warehouse district is Minneapolis’ best hope.
  • Significant leadership is required by the city government to developer a 100-year plan. (Public transit is a 100 year problem – Chicago is just starting to figure it out)
  • It’s not a question of diversity, it’s a question of ‘is the diversity engaged in all aspects of the city’
  • What if your weakness was your biggest strength?