Publication | ThinkSet, issue 4

The New Company Town

Tam Harbert

Spring 2018

It isn’t easy to attract and retain workforce talent, and it’s harder still to lure millennials, who make up the largest segment of the workforce.

Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, NY and Hartford, Conn. are doing it with help from corporate leaders. Site selection is being driven by talent, and city buzz is drawing millennials significantly, even far from hotspots like Miami, Chicago or Los Angeles.

The number of 25- to 34-year-olds with four-year college degrees living in large cities is growing at 19%, nearly five times faster than the overall population growth, according to think tank City Observatory.

Companies are giving up isolated suburban campuses, says Brian Swett, American cities leader at Arup, a global engineering and consulting firm. He cites the recent move of General Electric’s headquarters from Connecticut to Boston’s Seaport District to be closer to university research, ecosystem partners and other assets.

“That’s the beating heart of the company,” he says. “They wanted to be where the action is.”