What Site Selectors Are Saying: The Growing Role of Diversity on Location Decisions
A recent EDCUtah site selector survey indicates that diversity is the #1 social issue affecting expansion and relocation decisions.
In November some of the top site selectors in the country shared their insight and thoughts on how diversity is beginning to play an even more significant role in corporate location decisions. EDCUtah’s business development staff compiled the following summary of a Site Selectors Guild webcast to share with our investors, and added some commentary, in hopes that it can inform how you engage in projects.
The main theme running throughout the discussion on diversity’s role is that both companies and site selectors care about diversity and recognize its importance in achieving long-term growth. There is a general consensus among companies that being diverse and inclusive within their organization is not only the right thing to do, it also provides them with a competitive advantage. Sound diversity practices allow companies to compete for and retain the best talent, spur intra company innovation and creativity, and create a better product in the marketplace. A growing number of companies are setting internal diversity and inclusion targets.
The idea of diversity is nothing new, but our Site Selectors report that it is rapidly expanding to encompass more areas of the corporate world.
One of the site selectors provided their thoughts on possible indicators to gauge a location’s ability to support diversity initiatives. They noted that it is important to look not only at the state level data on diversity but at the specific city and area being considered. The list of possible indicators is as follows:
- Overall diversity
- Minority populations
- All of the above by educational attainment (degree/certificate level)
- All of the above by area studies
- All of the above by occupation
- Measures of existing equity
- Capacity to translate opportunity into outcomes
Another site selector shared their experience with how diversity is now being used as a location factor and how it is impacting office projects. They pointed out that while communities cannot change their diversity quotient overnight, they can share what they are doing to improve it over time and set goals for what they would like to see their community look like in the future. They also noted that while some communities are prepared to answer questions about this, others are not. Finally, every site visit orchestrated by this site selector includes some questions about diversity, as well as about the attitude of the community toward diversity, to make sure the company and community’s cultures are aligned.
Another of the site selectors shared what they have seen in terms of how diversity is impacting manufacturing projects. The site selector revealed that manufacturing companies are also taking diversity into consideration. While office projects often come with diversity targets already in mind and are typically more proactive about seeking out locations with a diverse population, manufacturing companies are beginning to think about it now too. Manufacturing/production companies tend to draw from more diverse talent pools that make up the essential workforce. One example would be food service projects, which are often staffed more heavily by diverse populations than other projects. The site selector also pointed out that he has seen consumer goods companies discuss issues of diversity more frequently as a location factor, because it’s become increasingly important to their customers.
For communities looking to market their ability to support diverse talent initiatives, the site selectors offered the following suggestions:
- There is room to market yourself on various channels.
- The best way to communicate your support for diversity is through statistics.
- However, supplement the statistics with stories. Consultants would like to see case studies and examples on how companies are achieving new levels of diversity in that community.
The consensus around the importance of diversity, both for a company’s competitiveness, but also as a location factor is clear. Questions? Please reach out to our Business Development team at https://edcutah.org/about-us.
And, if you’d like to learn more about EDCUtah’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, please reach out to Theresa Foxley or Stephanie Frohman.