Saturday, September 22, 2007

Labor Market Geography

By way of an update to my "Captive Labor Pittsburgh" post, Utah's talent shortage is worse (and more complicated) than I previously realized:

Utah’s economy may be hot, but the job market is as tight as ever. Recruiters are doing all they can to woo top talent, but below-average wages, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation (2.6 percent) and unqualified workers are making it difficult to find the right fit.

What I'm struggling to understand is the "below-average" pay. I would figure that one way to attract talent is to offer more money than your competitor. Instead, the solution is to cultivate more talent in-state while promoting the high quality of life and low cost of living to outsiders. Will geographically mobile businesses leave Utah if salaries must rise in order to secure the necessary employees?

I realize that importing labor is expensive. Talent-in-demand can command more money and insist on the company picking up the tab for relocation. And as my previous post indicates, moving to a new place may be daunting. That said, young professionals across the country are making long distance journeys to find employment. The barriers to intellectual capital must be comparable in almost every region except...

With all of that in mind, why isn't Pittsburgh more competitive in luring talent-starved businesses?

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