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Talent attraction and retention are keys for city competitiveness

09. 03. 2021

To where and why do talents disappear from our cities? And why is it a problem? The new generation talents are extremely mobile, as they are looking for the best opportunities not only locally.

They live and develop their talents at places, where they find the best circumstances based on their own expectations. Those cities where there are a lot of highly educated professionals prove to be more competitive and thriving. Therefore, it is important for our cities to make concrete steps in order to attract and retain talents. 

Due to the increasing globalisation, the flow of talents is becoming more and more intense. While a few decades ago the young people who freshly graduated from universities typically chose a place for living between their hometown and university town, nowadays their choice can be almost any town in the world. Since talents possess special knowledge and skills, enterprises put an increasing emphasis on obtaining them, practically they compete for them. Young talents are expected to provide new approaches, creative perspective, out-of-the-box solutions for enterprises, which mean a competitive advantage for them. 

These are the main messages from the online conference of the TalentMagnet project – being implemented in frames of the Danube Transnational Programme – that took place on 24th February 2021. During the conference, more than 162 participants from more than 20 countries were involved in discussions with the aim of drawing the attention of cities to the importance of talent management. 

According to the speeches that presented international good practices (Stuttgart, Ostrava, Velenje, Varazdin, Klaipeda, Helsinki), city leaders and developers should realize the significance of talent attraction and retention. Without doubts, this is a new task for cities, although, successful cities have already built-in talent attraction and retention activities into their operation – as Béla Kézy, urban development expert, highlighted in his keynote speech. 

The final target group of the TalentMagnet project are young talents, whose development is a priority for the project. In the afternoon session of the conference 86 talents from 21 countries participated, and in 11 small groups, they identified the factors that make a city talent-friendly. They found that new generation talents choose a place for a living taking into account a complex set of criteria, that includes opportunities offered by a city: its attractiveness; appearance; structure; opportunities for mobility; security; potentials for accommodation, culture, work, entertainment, recreation; its image, etc.

Project co-funded by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)