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Report: Texas Among States Leading on Talent Attraction and Retention

Published Nov 29, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta

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A new survey suggests Texas is one of several states leading the nation in talent attraction and retention strategy. 

Respondents to a survey from the Site Selectors Guild, an association of leading professional site selection consultants, said that Texas was one of six states that have successfully implemented talent strategies that are making them more attractive to companies. Besides Texas, the other states cited by the consultants were Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. 

Survey respondents said companies weighing relocation or expansion options are looking for strong labor supply, robust workforce development programs, and proximity to higher education institutions or access to certificate programs. And in some cases, they said, companies will overlook other, less favorable operating conditions if the right mix of workforce attributes is present. Eighty-five percent of site selectors specializing in office projects said availability and quality of talent is the single-most important factor in office location decisions. 

The survey provides insight on some of the issues weighing on site selectors and the clients they serve. Forty-one percent of respondents said they believe skills shortages are the new normal, with manufacturing and transportation/warehousing among the industries most directly affected by the talent crisis. 

“Guild members are hearing from their clients about tight labor markets, unprecedented wage increases, and renewed interest in workforce training programs and recruitment tools – all of which are impacting corporate location choices,” said Chris Lloyd, Chairman of the Site Selectors Guild and Senior Vice President and Director of Infrastructure and Economic Development at McGuireWoods Consulting. Lloyd said he and other members of the guild “are working hard with our partners in economic development organizations to identify best in class talent attraction and retention initiatives to help companies meet their needs as the economy recovers from the COVID pandemic.”

When asked which industries they expect will be most impacted by talent and/or skill shortages over the next five years, survey respondents selected the following industries:

  1. Manufacturing (83%)
  2. Transportation/Warehousing (68%)
  3. Construction (61%)
  4. Healthcare (61%)
  5. Hospitality (Accommodations/Food Service) (59%) 

In addition, 68% of consultants said in a tightening labor market, companies will put an increasing emphasis on training for necessary skills rather than seeking to hire individuals with those skills. 

The survey respondents reported that corporate clients are reacting to the skill and workforce shortages in a variety of ways – the top one being raising wages or salaries – with 83% indicating this as a client response. Consultants said companies are taking other actions, including introducing efficiencies such as purchasing automated equipment to produce goods, improving logistics, and/or implementing LEAN manufacturing methodologies (61%); improving benefits or worker “perks” (56%); offering retention/attraction bonuses (44%) and upskilling/retraining their existing workforce (44%). 

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