If you track the job market at all, then you will certainly hear the term ‘skills gap’ when companies discuss their plans to hire in the coming year. Another hot topic Is around immigration reform and you won’t get far in that conversation without hearing about the pleas from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, in an effort to encourage/maintain a global talent pool right here in the United States. We aren’t going to get into policy debates and we also recognize that there certainly are extremely talented candidates all over the world. However, we also believe that the Raleigh-Durham area is one of the richest sources of talent anywhere in the country and quite possibly the world! Here at KPS, we know that is a bold statement but are confident that we can support such a claim and know this region of the United States can play a major role in the competitive advantage you are looking for at your firm. While accolades are not new to the Raleigh-Durham area, 2014 did start out with some exciting news when President Obama visited NC State University, to announce the University would be home to a six-university, 18-company innovation institute for manufacturing technologies. For some, that may not be of interest to your business’ respective industry, so here are just a few more…
- Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek named Durham the 37th best city in America and put Raleigh at the top spot!
- TransferWise went global and placed Raleigh at #5 on the top emerging tech hubs to watch around the world!
- Forbes listed Raleigh to its Top 10 Regions to Watch in 2014
So what is it about Raleigh? Of all the cities across the United States, why did the US Government entrust Raleigh to lead the national manufacturing effort? Why did Google narrow the list of 1,000+ applicants, for their upcoming GoogleFiber expansion, down to 9 and keep Raleigh on the list (Also naming Durham’s American Underground as part of just 6 cities across N America to its Tech Hub Network)? Here at KPS, we were quickly drawn to The Business Journal study ranking ‘brain power’ in 102 markets, placing both Durham (6) and Raleigh (8) in the top 10. Then we were reminded of Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is home to more than 170 global companies, including IBM, GSK, Syngenta, RTI International, Credit Suisse, and Cisco to name a few. On the flip side of ‘The Park’ is a thriving downtown in Raleigh. In addition to Red Hat’s recent expansion/move downtown, Citrix announced expansion with 300+ jobs, DB Global Technology announced 400+ jobs, and Ipreo Holdings announced 250+ jobs in downtown. It isn’t just large globals that are seeing the region as a competitive advantage, as there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit throughout Raleigh and compliments Durham’s inclusion into Google’s Tech Hub Network. Both Raleigh & Durham are in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 25 entrepreneurial cities, NerdWallet listed Raleigh as a Top 10 City for Female Entrepreneurs, and Forbes posted Raleigh #4 for young entrepreneurs. Ok…enough of the lists. We decided to get past the ‘hard’ data and reach out to someone that has his finger on the pulse of industry in Raleigh, Derrick Minor. Derrick is the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager for the City of Raleigh. KPS: What does the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager for the City of Raleigh do? What is your key mission?
Derrick: Key mission is to identify, engage, connect, and support startup and growth stage companies within the city of Raleigh, with the end goal of helping them to start, stay, and prosper within the city. The primary way I help to accomplish this is by connecting entrepreneurs and companies to the resources and relationships needed to accelerate growth. I recently wrote a blog post on this that goes into much greater detail. Secondarily, I also seek to identify gaps within the local startup ecosystem and then work to pull in the strategic partners needed to help fill those gaps.
KPS: Raleigh is consistently in the “top places to…” lists. What is that sets Raleigh apart from other cities, even those we commonly see listed with us (i.e. -Austin)?
Derrick: There are a number of reasons why people and companies continue to move to Raleigh: Cost of Living, Quality of Life, Higher Education, Business Climate, etc. As far as what sets us apart, I would have to say the Higher Ed piece is a big win for us. We have 12 universities and colleges throughout the Triangle, with 6 being located in Raleigh. Of those 12, we have 3 Tier 1 Research Universities, which is very rare and very attractive for companies looking to partner with those universities, as well as draw talent from within.
Both Duke’s Fuqua and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler are in U.S. News’ Best Business Schools top 20 (consistently)…sorry, slipped in another list!
KPS: With so many reports stating the US is facing a talent gap, how does this region stack up?
Derrick: Even though we are in a great position (with talent moving here and graduating from the local universities), we are definitely not isolated from this challenge and cannot rest on our laurels. We need to continue investing in education to ensure we are growing the talent we need.
KPS: Not everyone is looking to actually relocate, so what does this all mean for companies out of town/state when looking to partner with a company?
Derrick: Many companies that look here and do not want to relocate their corporate HQ, many times will set up a regional or divisional HQ in Raleigh, which will be a hub for R&D, Design, Software Development, etc; and there are numerous examples of this (Citrix, Allscripts, Ipreo, Ebay, etc). Ultimately the talent and ease of doing business are heavy attracters for them. Flight accessibility can still be a challenge for us, but it has gotten significantly better of the last couple of years with direct flights be added, such as San Fran and Los Angeles.
Kelly Project Solutions is in a knowledge business…project management. We rely on the combination of education, training, and experience of the people we employ for your projects. The ‘talent pool’ is our competitive advantage, along with some other things we would like to talk with you about. As you can tell, we are tremendously passionate about the region and the contribution it can play in the success of your business and your next project. We didn’t even touch the best of lists on quality of life, best cities for commuting, and so on. While this post is littered with links to various lists and studies, we wanted to provide you with a number of views to support our assertion that Raleigh-Durham could be the best source of talent and resources to increase odds of success at your firm. Call us today and let’s talk about your specific needs for your next project…let KPS find the best talent, from the greatest talent pool in the US!