When making site selection decisions, companies are faced with selecting locations that possess the skillsets needed to satisfy their immediate hiring needs. They also must look for communities that have the workforce development infrastructure and broad demographic profiles needed to develop talent over an extended period of time.
Given the drop in unemployment and the increased competition for workers,both objectives have proven to be a difficult proposition for companies in the U.S. Site Selection Group, a full-service location advisory, corporate real estate and economic incentives firm, routinely evaluates workforce conditions on behalf of our corporate clients seeking to locate their manufacturing plants, distribution centers, corporate headquarters, call centers, shared service operations and data centers.
Future millennial population growth
Regardless of hiring for immediate needs or developing a pipeline of talent, companies have placed a high priority on accessing the millennial population. Although the millennial population has been defined in a multitude of ways, Site Selection Group generally classifies the post-college population under 35 as millennials. Based on the latest demographic models, Site Selection Group researched the 10 metro areas with populations over 250,000 that are expected to experience the most growth in millennial population over the next five years. What is especially interesting is the geographic diversity of the top 10.
Top Metro Areas for Millennial Growth
|Metro Area||2016 Age 21
|2021 Age 21
|Boise City, ID||35,723||41,658||16.6%|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||30,711||35,068||14.2%|
|Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL||14,446||16,265||12.6%|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||29,705||33,243||11.9%|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||381,714||426,415||11.7%|
What is Generation ‘Z’ and why is it important?
Most demographers would classify Generation ‘Z’ as a subset of the millennial generation. Technically speaking, Generation ‘Z’ is the population that is too young today to enter the post-college workforce, but will be eligible for professional employment (ages 21-24) in five years. Most companies with a proactive view of their workforce needs identify this population segment to satisfy their longer-term hiring needs. Site Selection Group researched the 10 metro areas with a population over 250,000 expected to experience the most growth in the Generation ‘Z’ population over the next five years.
Top Metro Areas for Generation Z
|Metro Area||2016 Age 25 to 34||2021 25 to 34||% Increase|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||35,053||42,278||20.6%|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||34,790||40,914||17.6%|
|Fort Collins, CO||47,452||53,564||12.9%|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||60,907||68,327||12.2%|
Metros with positive growth rates for both millennials and Generation ‘Z’ are rare
Companies also consider communities that can both attract and retain young people throughout their young professional years. As demonstrated by the two lists above, what attracts a new college graduate is not always the same as what a young professional looks for when starting a family or buying a home. The top metro areas population over 250,000 with the highest percent increase of the combined 21 to 34 age groups are listed below.
Top Metro Areas with a Young Future Workforce
|Metro Area||2016 Age 21
|2021 Age 21
|Port St. Lucie, FL||66,397||73,212||10.3%|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||99,706||109,240||9.6%|
|Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL||49,908||54,057||8.3%|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||103,107||110,950||7.6%|
As noted above, many factors play a role in identifying the optimal labor market for a new operation. Across industries, whether to access new and in-demand skillsets or to backfill the large number of baby boomers entering retirement, new and expanding companies place a premium on hiring and retaining the millennial workforce. And as a result, Site Selection Group increasingly places more weight in its analyses on identifying those communities that offer companies access to this critical demographic.