Skilled labor and the cost of doing business top the priorities of corporate site selectors in 2018. The retirement of the baby-boom generation — mixed with a booming economy — is creating skilled workforce challenges across a wide range of industries and in communities big and small. Companies in the corporate site location process are responding to this challenge by conducting their own workforce studies to ensure a site has the workers they need. Communities competing for these jobs have a leg up by training and certifying their workforces before a company comes knocking.
Another important insight from the 2018 Corporate Survey is the continued role that the cost of doing business at a site has on the final location decision. In fact, six of the top-10 corporate site selection factors are tied to the cost of doing business at a site. Labor, energy, and occupancy/construction costs as well as local, state, and federal tax policy and exemptions/incentives all top the list of issues of concern for corporate site selectors.
The survey results illustrate the role public policymakers and the private market play in corporate site location projects. Ensuring a community has a large pool of skilled workers, affordable and reliable energy sources, a competitive real estate market, and a tax policy attractive to companies all happen before a company looks at a site. Tax incentives can help level the playing field for the higher cost of doing business in some regions and can be a final, critical piece of the corporate site location process. However, a high cost structure can be too high for even tax incentives to make a difference.