Quality of Life sometimes referred to as Quality of Place represents different things to different people. When it comes to economic development, Quality of Life means better infrastructure, and more jobs improving the economy and the region while raising the standard of living for residents.
Having a high quality of life that is affordable is one of the key-factors employees base location decisions on which in turn creates a highly sought-after and valuable workforce. Municipalities that offer options for entertainment, outdoor recreational space, location in relation to other cities, good-paying careers, high-quality educational institutions while keeping the cost of living lower are the places that will thrive and grow.
Ensuring companies have access to a skilled and available workforce continues to be a driving factor in the selection process. Our region offers high-quality education options at all levels and has pathways to develop new education-to-workforce pipelines as the needs of regional businesses change.
Quality of life has been a factor in business location for decades, especially when it comes to the short-list of possible locations. It directly affects a company’s ability to attract and retain employees. Site selection metrics have changed since the pandemic began. Metrics such as global market access, labor quality and innovation, labor recruitment assets, and talent retention are now being used in place of more traditional metrics.
Establishing a high quality of life requires communities to collaborate and invest in the aspects that make them stand out and help them to be inclusive and welcoming. An article by Area Development, an economic development publication and website, stated, “Communities that can satisfy a company’s quality-of-life concerns – with regard to housing, healthcare, education, recreation, etc. – can make moving a business a pleasure.”
As remote working evolves and employees have long-term options to work-from-anywhere the communities that offer a higher quality of life, a lower cost of living, and diverse career opportunities are the locations that will attract new companies, new employees, create a strong workforce, and be more attractive to companies.
So far in this Why Economic Development Matters series, we have covered Business Retention, Job Creation, and Quality of Life; three of the six main reasons the daily work of economic development matters to municipalities, residents, and employers. This work helps improve our region’s economic well-being and cultivates opportunities for sustainable primary job growth.