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Memo to HR: Want to Attract Top Young Talent in New Jersey? Move to the Cities

August 5th, 2011 by

“Drive to work? No thanks.” Source:

Last week New Jersey Future Research Director Tim Evans asked why “millennials” preferred cities over the ‘burbs, and many of you responded with your own explanations for this phenomenon. Whatever the answer, two recent examples show that employers in New Jersey are taking notice of the trend, and using it to their advantage. The first comes from a story in NJBIZ (subscription required) about the law firm Genova, Burns & Giantomasi, which recently moved from suburban Livingston to downtown Newark in an attempt to attract top talent and expand its business.  From Angelo J. Genova, a partner at the law firm: “Being here [Newark] makes it easier to attract talented lawyers, since they’re not restricted to commuting by car. They can take trains or other mass transit, which makes it very convenient.” He continues, “Let’s face it, law is a people-oriented business, and many government agencies — as well as courts, corporations, and law schools — are in Newark.” 

Next comes an article from CNN/Fortune Magazine about companies heading back downtown. The article gives a number of examples from across the country, but also offers a few New Jersey-specific anecdotes. From Lisa Jackman, a recruiter for financial firms, including Warren, N.J.-based Chubb: “’Chubb is an amazing company but they lose people because of location all the time.’ She points to a recent position for an internal consultant. ‘Management wanted a McKinsey- or Bain-type alum but was paying in the low six-figures, a level that would attract someone with two to three years of experience at those firms. You’re kind of young at that comp level. When do people want to go to Warren, N.J.? They want to go to Warren, N.J., when they’re ready to settle down.’” She also notes that it can be easier to attract older workers with children to the suburbs, in part because of better school systems.

So, if you’re a company looking to attract young talented workers, you may want to think about relocating to places those workers want to be. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey also recognizes the benefit of employers moving downtown, and provides significant incentives for companies to do so.

One Response to “Memo to HR: Want to Attract Top Young Talent in New Jersey? Move to the Cities”

  1. Interesting the focus on young talented workers. They do not score highest on either business starts or technological innovations. Most are still in need of on-the job or grad school training. But, they do cost less and can be worked harder than the more mature knowledge workers — how many hours does a law firm associate have to work a week? And those that stick it out will become the really productive knowledge workers of the future, nested, with children. The real challenge is for the cities to keep them then. Better schools, parks, other public spaces and appropriate housing would help. Some green shoots have appeared, but a lot more needs to be done.

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