In the first installment of this series, we began examining the question, “How are we doing?” at attracting and retaining talent in the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region (MSP). The answer, it turns out, isn’t so simple.

We offered some overall takeaways, like the fact that net migration to MSP is positive, has improved in recent years, and is outperforming most peers in the Midwest and Northern regions of the country. But those statistics, and even the overall story, look different for different groups.

If you’re doing the work to attract, welcome, engage, and retain people in your organization or community, you likely want to know more about a particular, sometimes very specific, group.

Professionals of Color in Minneapolis + Saint Paul

With the 2018 publication of Make It. MSP. Insights: Volume 2, we examined how MSP attracts and retains professionals of color at different rates than white professionals. That data can continue to be disaggregated. Later this year, the BE MSP team of Make It. MSP. will release a new report and workshop digging deeper.

Technology Talent and Start Ups in Minnesota

Another way to answer the question of “How are we doing?” is to look at specific geographies. For example, last year’s MSP Welcome Week prioritized an event for newcomers to MSP from Chicago. That was intentional, as analysis of IRS data indicated that Cook County, Illinois was a top source of newcomers in the previous year. (MinnPost explored that topic)

However, another way to dig into the migration of working professionals is to examine skills. Given the fact that our most recent installment of Make It. MSP. Insights explores technology talent in the region, we can use that as an example.

Our Growing Community

MSP is already a tech hub, home to more than 136,000 technology professionals and a growing, collaborative tech community. We are sharing some of those stories with the “Develop in MSP” campaign. And just as MSP is attracting more people than it is losing, the same holds true in tech.

But as we begin to look at specific skills, we see that people come and go at different rates. LinkedIn’s Talent Insights tool allows the Make It. MSP. team to examine the migration of LinkedIn users over the prior year. While we can’t be as confident in specific statistics, the tool includes most working professionals and provides strong directional insight.

For example, let’s take a place that folks commonly associate with tech. Isolating LinkedIn users with software development skills reveals that while Silicon Valley (defined by LinkedIn as the San Francisco Bay Area) may be experiencing rising challenges retaining talent, that area of the U.S. attracted many thousands more people with software development skills than it lost during the last 12 months. A deeper dive shows that Silicon Valley actually performed the best at attracting people with very little experience. When it came to people with software development skills and 10+ years of experience, however, Silicon Valley was a net exporter of talent.

Additionally, Silicon Valley didn’t experience the same kind of massive inflow of LinkedIn users with skills like accounting or nursing. For people with those skill sets, migration over the past year was mostly flat or even slightly negative. So, if the question is “How are we doing?” attracting and retaining talent in Silicon Valley, the answer may increasingly be “Okay,” or even “Declining.” But, for young professionals with software development skills and little experience, maybe the short-term answer continued to be “great,” raising additional questions about the sustainability of that model.

Back here in MSP, analyzing migration by skill can answer some questions while raising many more. Migration of LinkedIn users with software development skills was mostly flat in MSP over the past 12 months. Silicon Valley was actually the top source of inbound software development talent to MSP, but also the top destination for talent leaving the metro (especially true for people with little experience.)

Other top sources of inbound software development talent to MSP included New York, Chicago, and Dallas. However, the top “net” importers of talent with software development skills included places like Des Moines, Fargo, and Madison, as well as Chicago. These are places where fewer people may move from, but where MSP doesn’t lose much software development talent to.

The story may be different for people with other skills. Let’s take folks with project management skills, for instance. MSP attracted many more of these professionals than it lost over the past year, according to LinkedIn user data. However, most other Midwest markets were net exporters of people with project management skills. Chicago, for example, lost thousands more of these professionals than it gained.

People with project management skills can also work in technology. So, it is important to consider the fact that “How are we doing?” may not even be a simple story within a specific industry.

In the next installment in our series, we will take a deeper look at a key indicator in the MSP Regional Indicators Dashboard, the net migration of 25-34 year olds.

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