Attract and retain young professionals by improving affordable housing opportunities, amenities, and entertainment options that are attractive to them.
In 2017, a survey titled “The Experience Movement: How Millennials are Bridging Cultural & Political Divides Offline” was conducted by Eventbrite and Harris Poll. It revealed that most millennials would rather spend their money on experiences or events than on tangible things. Millennials have a common fear of missing out on an enjoyable event or experience that others are having. Many of this age feel their best memories are from their shared experiences.
These young professionals make up much of the current workforce and, as the baby boomers retire, they will soon comprise the majority of the workforce. Sixty-nine percent of millennials felt that attending events made them feel more connected to the community and the people in it. Lexington has tremendous restaurant options, while it also has the free events, music concerts, etc. aimed at keeping our young workforce in Lexington. There are also the popular and free downtown events such as Thursday Night Live, free concerts at Moondance Amphitheater, a free Thriller Parade, and many other events that attract people of all ages.
An academic article, “Beyond the Jobs versus Amenities Debate: Understanding the Migration of Educated Workers and Implications for Planning”, by Marla Nelson and Renia Ehrenfeucht, delved into understanding why educated workers move to other places and how to retain talent. The study found that economic motivations extended beyond wage and employment differentials. Having meaningful and rewarding opportunities within a culturally rich community were more important, and where compactness of a city creates relatively affordable housing and more accessible amenities, the social networks facilitated from public socializing significantly helped retain talent.
The study found that many relocated because they were able to find meaningful work, while some that left did so to advance their career because there were limited long-term opportunities in their respective locations. Some workers turned to entrepreneurship in order to remain in the cities that otherwise provided the benefits they wanted. The study found that having a diverse, robust economy can attract new workers and help retain talent, and that building on a place’s unique cultural amenities helps recruit and retain workers.