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36th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Small to Mid-Size Companies Focus on Costs

Costs, accessibility, and taxes all ranked higher in importance than quality of life to the small to mid-size companies responding to the Corporate Survey.

Q1 2022
It’s important to understand who is responding to the Corporate Survey, as the data is vital for EDCs to position their communities. The majority of “projects” in this data set (and in the U.S.) are led by small- to mid-sized growing companies that, more than likely, would not use a site selection consultant to expand. Last year was a “show me the money” or more accurately “solve my problems” year, with cost, taxes, and logistics at the top of the list.

Costs (labor, energy, shipping), accessibility (skilled labor, highway, raw materials) and taxes (corporate tax rate, state/local incentives, tax exemptions) all ranked higher than quality of life in importance to these companies. In fact, even environmental regulations, which are considerably stricter now than ever before, are more important to decision-makers for these projects than quality of life. The takeaway for EDCs is to pivot their talk track with these projects to focus on how their community can ease the cost burden or logistics challenges faced by companies today.

Also, the need for site selection consultants is illustrated by company-led project ranking of availability of skilled labor, which is difficult to find anywhere, at #2 compared to training programs/technical schools, which is where labor supply is likely to be found, at a dismal #17. EDCs should understand, for better or worse, what site selectors are looking for versus what companies are looking for.

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