Our largest focus at the Fox Cities Regional Partnership is our Business Retention and Expansion program. We conduct over 100 visits to existing Fox Cities employers annually to ask them about any challenges they may have to their growth and if there are opportunities they would like to take advantage of.
Many employers have told us over the years, that they are having an increasingly difficult time recruiting entry-level talent to their IT and engineering departments. This is not a challenge unique to the Fox Cities; as Baby-boomers retire, and GenXers move into more senior positions, companies around the US are competing for the best and the brightest students coming out of college.
As we know this market is so competitive, we developed a program for area employers where we advertise a 3-day event for students to come explore the Fox Cities and our amazing employers. For this year’s event, we required the students to fill out a survey regarding what they value from a job perspective as well as from a “quality-of-life” and how important those factors are when choosing place to begin their careers.
We began by asking the students if they planned on choosing a community in which to live prior to looking for a job there, or if they planned on finding a job first and then looking for a community/neighborhood that was nearby. As you can see in the chart below, most of the students were looking for the right job—then choosing where to live. We very often hear that Millennials do just the opposite, so this was interesting.
We then asked the students what the most important factors are to them when choosing a job. The students had four options to choose from regarding each factor, “not at all important”, “somewhat important”, “very important”, and “deal breaker”. Outlined in the chart below are the factors that students identified as “very important” or “deal breaker”. We weren’t at all shocked by the student’s responses.
Much like the factors they look at when considering a job, we asked the student what was most important to them regarding a community in which to live. Again, the students had four options to choose from regarding each factor, “not at all important”, “somewhat important”, “very important”, and “deal breaker”. Outlined in the chart below are the factors that students identified as “very important” or “deal breaker”.
Many of the options below ranked close to what we predicted—of course young people want recreational options. However, we were surprised to see was that some factors generally considered to be more appreciated by a “more mature” demographic like high-quality healthcare, a good public education system, and low crime are VERY important to these students.
This information may be useful for you when speaking with potential employees, as the Fox Cities is very competitive with many of the factors listed as important to many of the students.