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36th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives Commentary: Labor Costs and Availability Go Hand in Hand

The pandemic shook up what workers want and expect from a job.

Q1 2022
Annual surveys are valuable and have a prominent place, but the real value comes from how a company uses the results. Site selection can be a complex, time-consuming process of elimination. The site selection process is about how to eliminate markets, not just the selection of a market. Site selectors assist their clients on how to differentiate markets using both analytical and qualitative techniques so Area Development’s Corporate Survey report is an additional tool we can use to eliminate markets early in the process.

The most interesting result on the combined ratings of factors, would be the top two of labor costs and availability of skilled labor. To me, those go “hand in hand.” A recent jobs report shows an increase in the numbers of workers returning to work, but payroll sums are still more than five million shy of pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic shook up what workers want and expect from a job.

Lastly, the most overlooked site selection factor would be quality of life (tied for 11th). This will continue to rise, as it not just about what to do in the region, but other factors to look at are healthcare availability and affordability, educational institutions, infrastructure, crime and corrections, and the natural environment. Quality of life may have a minimal impact early in the site selection process, but a major impact in the final short-list stage.

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