Fifty years ago, companies opened new locations to be near lumber, copper, or resources needed for their businesses. “Today, people are the natural resources,” said Meredith Amdur, an analytics expert at advisory firm CEB. Facing a tight labor market and a shortage of skilled workers, many large companies say that a city or region’s population of desirable workers is now the top factor in location decisions.
The focus on talent makes a great deal of sense. However, I think firms have to think in terms of identifying areas where hidden gems might exist. Yes, if you want programmers, you will find a great deal of talent in San Francisco. However, you will be battling many top firms for that talent, and it will be pricey. What if another city was home to some terrific universities, but it had a less competitive labor market? Or, what if some less "prestigious" universities actually were producing great and somewhat underrated talent? That's what I mean by finding the hidden gems.