Creating Destinations for Talent
Many regions across North America are facing a significant workforce shortage. National data, as well as on the ground experiences here in Concord, cite this as one of the top 3 challenges to entrepreneurial and corporate growth. Area Development Magazine in their recent 32nd Annual Corporate Survey said 53% of corporate respondents cited availability of skilled labor would have an effect on their new facility or expansion plans with availability of skilled labor in the #3 spot as being considered important” or “very important” to new site selection processes or growth.
(Area Development Magazine: 32nd Annual Corporate Survey & the 14th Annual Consultants Survey Results Q1 2018).
The corporate world is also reaching out to the public sector to assist. Efforts have included greater collaborations with community colleges, stimulating discussions with public schools on the value of greater job-ready skills and incentives for job development.
Another tool that has been suggested specifically for the city is the creation of a business incubator. In 2017, the City Council commissioned a two phase study to explore a needs assessment of an incubator and development plan for the City of Concord. The Study concluded that there was a compelling argument for the creation of an initiative to not only support entrepreneurial activity but also stimulate it.This would be broadly based to capture the full level of entrepreneurial activity in the region. The term ‘incubator’ is a fairly dated term for these spaces now and more regions have been heading towards the creation of an ‘Entrepreneurship Center’ or a ‘Co-working’ space, which would serve as a catalyst for the creation of new companies within the city.
These types of co-working spaces offer entrepreneurs the choice of working alongside like-minded other people, instead of in isolation, at minimal costs. They help to create a community which facilitates collaboration and access whatever their separate professions, disciplines or interest. These spaces play a very important role in the local economy and are seen as an asset to attract and retain talent in a region. People in the workforce are looking for a more meaningful way to work, with more job control and a sense of community. That is why spaces such a ‘We Work’ (who have 3 locations in Boston as well as around the U.S.) offer not only attractive office space but a place where people can be part of a community of like-minded people.
In 2017, there were 4,043 co-working spaces in the U.S., and this is forecasted to increase to 6,219 by 2022. In 2017, there were around 1.18 million people working in co-working spaces worldwide. Jones Lang La Salle, in a recent 2019 report, said 5% of all office space in the U.S. is co-working space and they are predicting that this is expected to rise by 30% over the next 11 years. Data estimating the number of jobs created or new office space generated by growth by these spaces is still relatively scant. However, my own experience alone in Pittsburgh, PA with co-working spaces such at the Beauty Shoppe or the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, saw around 20% of companies over a period of time, spin out and take office space in the city to become part of the tax base. Just as a side note, other famous companies you would have heard of, also spun out of these types of spaces include Uber, Spotify, Indiegogo and Instagram.
Concord would benefit greatly from such a co-working space and we are pleased to announce the new space at the Hotel Concord called HRKNSScowork. Follow them on Facebook for future updates and programming news.