35th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Change in Site Selection Priorities and Plans Over the Short and Long Term
Training programs and quality of life are two factors that have seen a jump in importance over the 35-year course of the Corporate Survey; as of now, however, some short-term facility plans have been put on hold.
New investments are currently mainly been done for manufacturing facilities and warehouses (representing 52 percent of the domestic total and 41 percent of the foreign total of planned new plants). Due to the electrification of vehicles, the auto industry is seeing large manufacturing projects. President Biden’s plan to make all government vehicles electric — more than 645,000 cars and trucks — would push production of EVs even more.
With regard to site selection factors, the survey clearly shows the availability of skilled labor as the No. 1 criteria with a 91.4 percent importance rating. Training programs have become increasingly important to companies (with a 50.9 percent importance rating in 1986 to 63.3 percent nowadays). Labor costs dropped to 84.2 percent from being the top factor with 96.6 percent importance rating 35 years ago.
As the survey shows, a site “certification” is not a main decision factor for companies — 69 percent of the respondents say that a pre-certified site is of no importance or equal to other parameters. Although still important, survey numbers for highway accessibility and accessibility to major airport have dropped over 35 years, which means that rural areas are becoming more popular in which to locate new facilities. In particular, larger projects are choosing smaller cities with a good quality of life standard to attract employees rather than metropolitan areas. The quality of life factor saw a huge increase in importance — going from a 60.4 percent importance rating 35 years ago to 84.8 percent today.
Quality of life is becoming a very important criteria in the site selection process. Nowadays many companies list quality of life as a main decision parameter besides labor, utilities, transportation, and incentives.
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