Wanderlust – how the head rules the heart when it comes to job relocation

John McIIroy | 05 Oct 2023 | General

The most common reason for moving to a new location is to create a better quality of life. But what does ‘quality of life’ mean? And how can investment agencies use new insights on this to attract the best talent to their location? In this blog, we look at how recently published research from C Studios shows us what talent really wants.

Talent is the new battleground of investment promotion

Earlier this year our global survey of Invest Promotion Agencies identified a growing trend of IPAs becoming more involved in talent attraction. The results showed that 43% of IPAs had developed a talent attraction strategy alongside their investment attraction strategy. New research published by  C Studios, which surveyed 650 people who had recently relocated, takes our knowledge on talent attraction a step further and provides some ideas for talent attraction strategies.

C Studios has identified a three-stage process that individuals pass through when deciding on their location. The first is the initial trigger that inspires people to move, and it is here that perceptions of a location (good or bad) are the most influential.

This is where marketing and place branding can get you into the thoughts of potential talent by highlighting what makes your location special and appealing to your audience on an emotional level. Think logo and tagline, celebrity ambassadors, and glossy photos. From an economic development position, it’s also important to highlight the potential in the area such as access to jobs, good employers and training opportunities.

However, when it comes to the second and third stages of decision making what becomes apparent from the research is that people are driven by facts rather than emotion.

When ‘boring’ trumps ‘cool’

The most popular reason for moving to a new location is to obtain a ‘better quality of life’.  This was stated by 43% of survey respondents, well ahead of the second most popular reason of ‘larger living space’ which mentioned by 26%.

Quality of life is subjective and can mean different things to different people. So, the research dives deeper and tries to break down the leading lifestyle factors in relocation. The table below shows the five most important lifestyle factors alongside the five least important factors. It shows that people prioritise practical issues when they decide to move, eg how safe is the area and how much will it cost to live there?

The results show that while highlighting the ‘cool’ factor and social/cultural opportunities are important for getting you noticed in a crowded market, it is the facts and the ‘boring’ stuff that are going to sway the final result.

The five most important and five least important lifestyle factors in relocation include:

Top five factors

  1. Safety / crime rates
  2. Cost of living
  3. Welcoming/friendly local population
  4. Housing cost
  5. Housing availability

Bottom five factors

  1. Cultural activities
  2. Social climate that supports my beliefs and values
  3. Diverse population
  4. Nightlife
  5. A ‘cool’ factor

Three ways to attract talent to your location

  1. Make the right impression

The initial trigger for choosing a new location is existing perceptions. By developing strong marketing materials and brand awareness you can manage those perceptions and make sure on are on the short-list of potential locations.

  1. Convert the prospect with facts

Ultimately people make decisions based on the standard of living they can expect. At this stage, you want to change your strategy to focus on the facts. Comparable data on factors such as crime rates, house prices, availability of different types of homes etc. will all play better than trying to appeal to emotional triggers.

  1. But keep it interesting

Marketing material and detailed information are not binary choices and there is no reason why you cannot provide information in an appealing way.  The research found the internet was the most used source of information, and three-quarters of respondents said accessing a dedicated talent attraction website was important or very important to them. So, develop a website that provides the information people need but also showcases the best of what your location has to offer.

If you want to find out more about the research, click HERE to access the report from C Studios. This includes more detail on the topics discussed above and more detailed results by age and location across Europe.