Site Selectors Survey Reveals Impact of Global Talent Shortage on Corporations and Communities

Site Selectors Survey Reveals Impact of Global Talent Shortage on Corporations and Communities

November 17, 2021

Site Selectors Survey Reveals Impact of Global Talent Shortage on Corporations and Communities

Consultants Weigh in on Industries Hit Hardest, Top States in Talent Attraction, Company Recruitment & Relocation Strategies and Talent Incentives


November 17, 2021 – A new survey released today from the Site Selectors Guild reveals 41% of Guild members believe skills shortages are the new normal, and manufacturing and transportation/warehousing will be the industries most impacted by the global talent crisis. The survey also highlights six states site selection consultants believe are implementing successful talent attraction and retention strategies and mixed viewpoints on incentive programs aimed at luring talent rather than companies.

“Guild members are hearing from their clients about tight labor markets, unprecedented wage increases, and renewed interest in workforce training programs and recruitment tools – all of which are impacting corporate location choices,” said Chris Lloyd, Chairman of the Site Selectors Guild and Senior Vice President and Director of Infrastructure and Economic Development at McGuireWoods Consulting. “As some of the most active site selection consultants across the globe, we are working hard with our partners in economic development organizations to identify best in class talent attraction and retention initiatives to help companies meet their needs as the economy recovers from the COVID pandemic.”

Following are the top findings of this research, conducted in October 2021.

41% Say Skills Shortages are the New Normal; Manufacturing Hit Hardest 

When asked how long the current skill shortages will last, 41% of Guild members said they believe it is the new normal, 17% said at least three years, 17% said through 2022, 12% said through 2023 and 12% said at least five years.

When asked which industries they expect will be most impacted by talent and/or skill shortages over the next five years, Guild members selected the following industries:

  1. Manufacturing (83%)
  2. Transportation/Warehousing (68%)
  3. Construction (61%)
  4. Healthcare (61%)
  5. Hospitality (Accommodations/Food Service) (59%)

In addition, 68% of consultants said in a tightening labor market, companies will put an increasing emphasis on training for necessary skills rather than seeking to hire individuals with those skills.

Top States in Talent Attraction

The majority of Guild members, 78%, say talent shortages are impacting where companies will consider investing in new or expanded facilities. Sixty-three percent report companies are increasingly conscious of state and local laws and policies, such as social policies/laws, voting laws and mandates related to COVID-19 that could be hot-button issues for recruiting and retaining talent.

When asked to name the states or provinces implementing notable and successful talent attraction and retention strategies, Guild members named the following six states (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Guild members said in some cases, companies are willing to overlook less positive operating conditions if the location has a strong labor supply, and there is an emphasis on locations with strong workforce development programs, proximity to higher education institutions or access to certification programs. In addition, 85% of site selectors specializing in office projects said the availability and quality of talent is the single-most important consideration during office location engagements.

 Consultants are Split on Talent Incentive Programs

As more states, regions and communities offer incentives aimed at attracting relocating talent and not just companies, Guild members shared their views on the effectiveness of these programs. When asked if talent relocation incentive programs are a wise use or waste of community resources, 53% said the programs are a wise use of resources, 35% said these programs are a waste of resources and 13% said they were unsure.

Guild members who believe talent incentives are a wise use of resources said the incentives can be an effective promotional tool – especially for rural or lesser-known communities – as well as a good way to attract a creative class. Consultants who thought these types of incentives are a waste of resources said the funds would be more effective if put into improving quality of life amenities that attract talent in the first place and believe these types of programs do not address the root cause of talent shortages.

Talent is Getting a Raise  

Guild members reported that corporate clients are reacting to the skill and workforce shortages in a variety of ways – the top one being raising wages or salaries – with 83% of Guild members indicating this as a client response. Additional ways Guild members indicated companies are responding include introducing efficiencies such as purchasing automated equipment to produce goods, improving logistics, and/or implementing LEAN manufacturing methodologies (61%); improving benefits or worker “perks” (56%); offering retention/attraction bonuses (44%) and upskilling/retraining their existing workforce (44%).

About the Site Selectors Guild

The Site Selectors Guild is the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants. Guild members provide location strategy to corporations across the globe and for every industry, sector, and function. Founded in 2010, the Site Selectors Guild is dedicated to advancing the profession of international corporate site selection by promoting integrity, objectivity and professional development. Members are peer-nominated, vetted, and must demonstrate significant professional location advisory experience. In the past three years alone, Guild members facilitated the announced creation of approximately 165,000 jobs and $90 billion in announced capital investment. Guild membership is the highest standard in the site selection industry. For more information, visit or follow @siteselectguild on Twitter.