Study: New York Must Reel in More Fresh Minds in Tech Talent Crunch

3/26/13Follow @jpruth

Aon and the Partnership for New York City on Tuesday released a study that addresses actions needed to ensure New York’s a long-term economic growth. The study dubs the city as “Destination of Choice for Talent” while also citing the competition it faces from around the world on that front. Aon, a London-based provider of risk management services, insurance brokerage, and management consulting, conducted the research. The Partnership for New York City is an organization of city business leaders and the parent of the Partnership Fund for New York City.

One key takeaway from that research is a continuing need for New York to deepen its technology talent pool. The study states: “The Partnership for New York City has observed that the city’s talent supply is starting to fall short of employer needs.”

Several factors wear down the city’s appeal, according to the report. In spite of rapid job growth in the technology and creative sectors, especially engineering and computer sciences, demand exceeds the availability of local qualified workers and recent grads.

The city’s expanding technology community, the study says, is largely focused on health IT, financial technology, advertising technology, and digital media. The study asserts that New York could become the nation’s hub for biotech based on the concentration of academic medical research here. The city also is painted as a potential expansion ground for technology companies based on the West Coast.

Yet the study highlights factors that may impede New York’s talent growth. National immigration policies, the study says, constrain the flow of new foreign talent in the city. Steep housing and private education costs were also cited, as well as the “millennial lifestyle” of young talent, who favor a campus-like atmosphere in contrast with New York’s typical corporate environment.

Comparing New York with international rivals, the study bills Singapore as a top competitor for attracting technology and financial talent because of a comparatively lower cost of living, and more favorable immigration policies.

Though the study lauds Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration for pushing for immigration reform and the construction of new engineering campuses, several other suggestions were offered. Those ideas include encouraging the development of open workspaces with broadband connectivity among the city’s older buildings to attract more millennials. Marketing local amenities and opportunities more heavily to young talent and aspiring entrepreneurs could also make the city more attractive.

Aon developed the study through interviews with such stakeholders as members of the city’s government, industry associations, and academic institutions. The research also included responses from a talent perception survey that focused on location preferences and needs such as housing. The study compared New York with 15 cities from around the world strong in financials services and 12 cities from around the world entrenched in technology.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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  • http://www.socialbakers.com/ Michal Smetana

    This is a really interesting study. I mean “actions needed to ensure New York’s a long-term economic growth” is really an interesting topic that many of us wouldn’t even bother to care about. However, in reality New York needs to deepen its technology talent pool, when the study states: “The Partnership for New York City has observed that the city’s talent supply is starting to fall short of employer needs.” Who would have thought that ‘Big Apple’ would have problems with that?

    • realposter

      well its a good thing for workers because they can negotiate larger salaries… but that said – talent shortage is a problem throughout the U.S.