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CAREER CORNER

Employers, cities entice the young and the restless [by Michael Kinsman] The most sought after people in the work force today have been dubbed “the young and the restless.”

young and the restless than other cities.

There’s a simple reason recruiters are turn-

Cortright found that urban areas with attrac-

ing their attention to this group of college-

tive neighborhoods close to their downtowns

educated 25- to 34-year-old workers: They

will be the winners in this battle because

“It’s about matching up with their lifestyle

are the high-value future of our economy.

they fit the lifestyles of these individuals.

and their expectations for how they will live,”

This evolution in economic development

“Just as railroads and interstate high-

thinking is likely to have cities competing

ways shaped development in the past, the

But it also means that companies that have

against each other to land these in-demand

migration of knowledge workers will shape

established gender and ethnic equity in their

workers.

prosperity in the future,” Cortright says.

work forces and management structure will

“Cities that disregard this basic fact do so at

have a broader labor pool available to them.

she says.

So-called young knowledge workers - those

their peril.” This new way of thinking about economic

who have good educations and up-to-date job skills - are more likely to be entrepreneurs

His study identifies cities such as Chicago,

development will challenge civic leaders who

and are more mobile than others in the work

Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Boston

are locked into tradition. Yet, in the wake of

force, according to a study by economist

as the best situated to capitalize on the

a shrinking labor pool and a work force that

Joseph Cortright. They also are likely to be

young and mobile knowledge workers.

is changing, they will have little choice but to keep open minds.

among the most successful workers in the most successful companies.

In San Diego, economic development officials have already been looking at the region’s

“There’s no question these are the people

work force needs and have been making

you want today,” says Carol Coletta, presi-

efforts to reach out to potential knowledge

dent of Chicago-based CEOs for Cities, which

workers.

commissioned the report. “But you’re going to have to adjust your thinking about how to

“We’re going about it a little bit differently,”

attract them.”

says Jane Signaigo-Cox, senior vice president of the San Diego Economic Development

Cortright’s study found that as the baby boom

Corp. “We understand that cost of living

generation begins to retire, the number of

makes getting people to relocate here dif-

college graduates plateaus and the number

ficult, so we want to make sure that students

of women entering the work force levels off,

going to school here will stay once they

competition will be fierce for better edu-

graduate.”

cated, young workers who are more likely to relocate to new cities than other workers.

That’s a goal not just aimed at college students, but at high school and junior high

“Most economic development in the past

school students as well.

has been about recruiting businesses to a region,” Coletta says. “But we are entering

Coletta believes that cities that can offer

new territory - where we will have to recruit

vibrant residential neighborhoods close to

people instead.”

downtowns will be more likely to attract the

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© Copley News Service


Employers, cities entice the young and the restless