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From Site Selection magazine, March 2020

Only You Can Do Something About the Talent ‘Shortage’

Mark Arend


Everywhere we turn these days, the topic of talent acquisition is front and center as the biggest challenge facing location decision makers. See the Minnesota Spotlight in this issue, where the head of the Minnesota Business Partnership — a group of 115 CEOs at major companies — says, “Talent is our greatest asset and our greatest challenge. It’s the biggest issue facing the business community.” Ron Starner’s article explains what they’re doing about it.

Here’s another take on this issue. Austin and San Jose don’t lack IT talent. San Diego and Boston don’t lack biotech talent. Houston and Louisville don’t lack medical services talent. These metros are clusters for those industries. Steady capital investment and the jobs that follow are givens. In the absence of those clusters, help form one. The Georgia Spotlight in this issue is about how a logistics executive ended up opening a huge distribution center in a seemingly unlikely location. The time he spent working with the local business attraction team and reporter to tell the story could translate into other logistics operations — and their talent — in the same area. Less of a talent shortage now.

In a different but related context, senior executives from a dozen leading corporations based in Eastern Europe put together the “Business Council of Growing Europe” to shine light on the region as a capital investment destination. These are corporations — not investment promotion agencies, which do that all day long. Read about this, too, in this issue. They launched the effort at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

The point: Corporate leaders are listened to. Readers of Site Selection are the investors, and your experience is invaluable. You’ve been through the process of choosing the right location already. So do what these examples illustrate. Play a role in selling your metro, state or region. The more this happens, the likelier new projects will follow — and not just vague “projects” and “talent” but the workers and skill sets of the most interest to you.

Speaking of Davos, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was there in January, a few weeks before we talked about his latest Governor’s Cup win. Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio is also featured in the 2019 Governor’s Cups cover story. We congratulate them and the leaders of the many dozens of metros large and small and micropolitans recognized in this issue for their business attraction success.

Get out there and help them tell the story. Your human resources department will be glad you did.

Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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