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Old 01-19-2015, 07:50 AM
 
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I'm looking for resources to support (or refute) the hypothesis that corporations looking to recruit top young talent must seriously consider locating their offices in walkable urban neighborhoods. Does anyone have any data, or at least anecdotal evidence, along these lines?

I see a lot of companies (especially in the midwest) re-locating to office parks in the 'burbs, and still expecting to attract lots of bright millenial college grads. However, my theory is that this type of location is a major turnoff to that generation.

What do you think?
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I'm looking for resources to support (or refute) the hypothesis that corporations looking to recruit top young talent must seriously consider locating their offices in walkable urban neighborhoods. Does anyone have any data, or at least anecdotal evidence, along these lines?

I see a lot of companies (especially in the midwest) re-locating to office parks in the 'burbs, and still expecting to attract lots of bright millenial college grads. However, my theory is that this type of location is a major turnoff to that generation.

What do you think?
I think real estate is local, and while what you suggest is a general trend, it's more marked in certain cities then others. Perhaps the HR consequences of relocating to the suburbs would be high in Portland, but marginal, or maybe even positive, in Akron. There are no hard and fast laws that apply to every local market, unfortunately.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:20 AM
 
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No. An example is Microsoft. The main campus in Redmond is basically a humongous office park type setting, and yet they attract best and brightest candidates. They are able to offer amenities and sufficient compensation.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Its anecdotal, but have been lots of corporations relocating at least some of their tech staff from suburban Chicago to the Loop in the past few years. When interviewed by the business press, the need to attract young employees who tend to be urban-oriented is uniformly cited as the reason.

Off the top of my head here are a few:
Motorola Mobility (at the time owned by Google, now owned by Lenovo)
United Airlines
Sears Holdings (their IT division)
McDonalds (IT division)
plus quite a few more that I can't remember

This trend is abetted by the fact that the burgeoning Chicago tech industry is located in the Loop and adjacent neighborhoods, not the suburbs.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
I think real estate is local, and while what you suggest is a general trend, it's more marked in certain cities then others. Perhaps the HR consequences of relocating to the suburbs would be high in Portland, but marginal, or maybe even positive, in Akron. There are no hard and fast laws that apply to every local market, unfortunately.
Real estate is local, true. However, corporate recruiting is not. A company that wants to be truly competitive in attracting talent is probably going to look all over. And when they do, they're likely to run into a lot of millenials who are very drawn to places like Portland, Austin, and other cities with lively urban environments.

My theory is that fewer and fewer universities, all over the country, are turning out graduates who are interested in commuting 30-minutes each way by car to a big-box office building in the middle of a 10-acre parking lot.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jeepman91919 View Post
No. An example is Microsoft. The main campus in Redmond is basically a humongous office park type setting, and yet they attract best and brightest candidates. They are able to offer amenities and sufficient compensation.
I think when you're Microsoft you can locate wherever you want. You said it yourself "they are able to offer amenities and sufficient compensation". In other words, they can be a city unto themselves. And even if they couldn't, people would make the sacrifice anyway for the prestige and the paycheck of working for Microsoft.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakparkdude View Post
Its anecdotal, but have been lots of corporations relocating at least some of their tech staff from suburban Chicago to the Loop in the past few years. When interviewed by the business press, the need to attract young employees who tend to be urban-oriented is uniformly cited as the reason.

Off the top of my head here are a few:
Motorola Mobility (at the time owned by Google, now owned by Lenovo)
United Airlines
Sears Holdings (their IT division)
McDonalds (IT division)
plus quite a few more that I can't remember

This trend is abetted by the fact that the burgeoning Chicago tech industry is located in the Loop and adjacent neighborhoods, not the suburbs.
This is great, thanks. Do you know where I might find the articles where recruiting is cited as a reason for the move?
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
This is great, thanks. Do you know where I might find the articles where recruiting is cited as a reason for the move?
Its been reported heavily in the local press, so you can probably google "Chicago Tribune" or "Crain's Chicago" and the corporation in question. There's also lot of press inked about Google's new Chicago location in the West Loop. You can also google "River North Chicago technology" for general articles about the neighborhood which is the epicenter for tech in Chicago. That will probably lead to links about other corporate relocations.

I might be biased because I live here, but Chicago is probably an outlier in the Midwest because we such a large critical mass of walkable neighborhoods and good transit which draws the young'uns to the city while at the same time some of the worst traffic which deters commuting to the suburbs.

PS: here's a few
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...pace-companies
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014...22442197428538

Last edited by oakparkdude; 01-19-2015 at 08:49 AM..
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:17 AM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,426,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I'm looking for resources to support (or refute) the hypothesis that corporations looking to recruit top young talent must seriously consider locating their offices in walkable urban neighborhoods. Does anyone have any data, or at least anecdotal evidence, along these lines?

I see a lot of companies (especially in the midwest) re-locating to office parks in the 'burbs, and still expecting to attract lots of bright millenial college grads. However, my theory is that this type of location is a major turnoff to that generation.

What do you think?
I can't find specific articles, but the "back to the city" trend has also been heavily reported in Minneapolis. There was also one large local company that was heavily involved in downtown improvements because it gave them a competitive advantage -- can't recall which one now, maybe Ameriprise?

In any case yes, there are plenty of of people out there who subscribe to this theory.

Here's a highly biased link to some Minneapolis companies downtown, and some quotes from business leaders about WHY they like it there (biased because the whole point of the website is to market downtown to companies considering a move): Success

Of course it's not just downtown that offers walkable urban neighborhoods. My husband's former work almost exclusively located its offices in trendy urban neighborhoods (some in downtown locations, some not); in part because of employees, and in part because for their line of business it was important to project a certain image (creative, primarily) and an office park in the 'burbs did not send that message.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:30 AM
 
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I think the problem with attracting millennials to office parks in the burbs in the midwest is more the "midwest" part than the "burbs" part. Certainly Silicon Valley has had no trouble attracting millennials; certainly a loud minority of them prefer SF to the Valley itself, but not enough to keep housing prices in the Valley from being sky high.
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