By Jami Gibson

Area Development recently released their 30th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives. The poll takes into account company decision-maker’s future location and expansion plans as well as the level of importance of several site location factors. The full report can be found here, but I want to focus on the respondent’s site location priorities.

Let’s take a look at the top ten factors they consider when determining a new site location, according to the survey:

1. Availability of skilled labor
2. Highway accessibility
3. Quality of life
4. Occupancy or construction costs
5. Available buildings
6. Labor costs
7. Corporate tax rate
8. Proximity to major markets
9. State and local incentives
10. Energy availability and costs

It’s no surprise that the availability of skilled labor was the top site location factor reported as “very important.” In 2014, it ranked 5th on the survey, but it’s quickly becoming a huge challenge many areas are facing.

Perhaps what is surprising is that in previous years, quality of life factors (i.e. crime rate, housing, climate, etc.) were listed separately, but were not considered important by a majority of the respondents. However, this year, qualify of life as a whole skyrocketed up the ranks to place third overall! Could it be that more millennials took the survey this year?

As we take into account these ten factors, some communities have a better position than others based solely on their geography – better climate, numerous highways, access to larger populations. However, many communities can have a fighting chance to attract new business as most of these factors can be improved upon. What programs do your community have in place to train displaced workers? What incentives can you offer to prospective businesses? What space is available, and can it be repurposed to attract emerging companies? What steps can be taken to improve quality of life factors?

Check out the survey to see the 28 site selection factors as well as how and when the respondents begin the site selection process! Also learn about their facility plans and outlook for the U.S. economy. Do their answers surprise you?

Source: Area Development