pool exists, it is also critical to study the competition in a market
for certain employees.
Once the availability of skills is determined for a particular
location, it is vital to look at the existence of, or opportunity for, a
talent pipeline. By analyzing migration patterns by age, education
and occupation, and university degrees/accreditations awarded,
companies may gain insight into the future supply of a particular
workforce. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),
the taxing authority of the U.S. federal government, releases
data from their annual income tax records portraying migration
patterns throughout the country. By reviewing this data closely, a
company may be able to discover trends forecasting the makeup
of a location’s future workforce.
A community lacking in skillsets and a talent pipeline can
still offer a suitable operating environment due to the growing
network of training programs throughout the country. A growing
number of economic development organizations are working
closely with workforce boards and academic institutions,
especially the community college system, to establish public/
private partnerships creating talent pipelines. In addition, every
U.S. state and many communities offer financial incentives to
businesses seeking to identify, recruit, and train new employees.
Existing employees can also benefit from training programs
ranging from specific machinery to safety programs.
Along with the availability of skills, companies must also
consider the cost of labor, both actual wage and the associated
benefits specific to that market and occupation. Determining
the cost of labor can often be difficult to pinpoint -- especially
when considering locations in different nations. The usefulness
of governmental statistics varies from country to country due
to variations in methodology and calculations. For a company
to understand the true cost of labor, they must consider factors
such as starting wages, experienced level wages, typical benefits
levels (expected union and/or statutorily required), workers
compensation provisions, training requirements, etc.
Along with determining the availability of skills and labor costs,
there are a number of other factors that companies will consider
in their labor analytics. Depending on the required workforce,
businesses may also consider preference and access to public
transportation, commuting patterns and times, quality of life,
turnover rate, productivity, and employee reliability. Often these
data points are verified during in-market visits, which provide
a company with in-depth exposure to a community’s unique
characteristics. These factors may contrast greatly between
particular locations, and if pertinent, may be included in the
overall decision making of a site location process.
Today, a site location process is truly an empirically-driven
analysis incorporating a number of different factors pertinent to
successful operations. Companies must consider these factors to
MARK BEATTIE is a Principal
with Hickey & Associates. Hickey
& Associates is a global site
selection, public incentive advisory
and workforce solutions company
with offices strategically located
around the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ensure the location they ultimately choose is not only right for their
business today, but able to provide stability long into the future.
Now more than ever, the availability of a suitable labor pool
and total cost of labor drives the ultimate placement of a new or
expanded facility. It is critical to get beyond the basic statistics
and holistically understand the strengths and shortcomings of a