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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 1, 2016 6 years ago

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An influential business group seeks a long-term guide for how companies in the region can better understand — and conquer — the next workforce wave.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

The advertising and marketing industry has long been a magnet for young people, a trend Colleen Chappell has seen proliferate in the 15 years she's helped run Tampa-based ChappellRoberts.

Now, as chairwoman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., Chappell sees young employees with a bigger focus. “We spend a lot of time talking about millennials,” says Chappell. “I want this to be the year we talk with them.”

That's why the EDC commissioned a pair of studies into what millennials want, and where they will go for it. “This isn't just to win for one year,” says Chappell. “This is a long view on how we can make our market the most powerful for young people and win for 10 years.”

Both surveys combined will cost around $35,000. Organizations that chipped in to fund it include ChappellRoberts, Moffitt Cancer Center and the United Way Suncoast.

EDC officials will use the studies help to focus their marketing and messaging, and pinpoint where there are misconceptions about the region. This is the most widespread and in-depth look at an emerging demographic ever in Tampa, says Michelle Bauer, EDC vice president of marketing and communications.

“There are people out there who think this part of Florida doesn't have as much talent as places like Atlanta,” says Bauer. “Our research flies in the face of that.”

One study will gauge what roughly 2,600 millennials nationwide, in a variety of fields and levels of jobs, think about Tampa — both negative and positive. One section, 600 people, are from Tampa, and 400 people will be surveyed in each of four Southeast markets Tampa is often compared to: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas and Nashville. The remaining 400 will come from random cities across America. “We want some solid data,” Bauer. “We want to find out what they love, what they don't love and what can drive them away.”

The second survey is a hyper-specific look at 125 CEOs, ages 35 and under, with companies that do at least $5 million a year in sales. Participants will be asked about factors that drive possible business expansions or relocation decisions. They will also be asked about Tampa, and if they would ever move their business to town.

EDC officials expect to release information from the surveys by June.

Chappell and Bauer are confident the information will quickly be put to good use. “The business community has millennial mania,” says Bauer. “They are paying very close attention to what they want.”


At a glance
Millennials, Tampa region
Hillsborough County, millennial population growth
Fiscal year Total millennials % Growth
2014 313,793
2015 316,220 .08%
2016 326,605 3.3%

Millennials by County in Tampa MSA
County % of Millennials
Hernando 5%
Pasco 15%
Pinellas 28%
Hillsborough 52%

Millennial growth rate, national
Here's how the Tampa region compares with other major cities in millennial growth rate
City Total millennials, 2015 Growth Rate '10-15
Orlando 571,746 7.5%
Denver 646,923 6.1%
Charlotte 530,121 5.7%
Austin 517,388 5.5%
Dallas 1,640,094 5.2%
Nashville 428,358 4.9%
Tampa 604,623 4.7%
Jacksonville 324,233 4.5%
New York City 4,706,174 2%
Chicago 2,24,3240 -0.5%

Note: Millennials are 18- to 34-year-olds in data.

Sources: Nielsen Sitewise 2010, 2015 Census, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

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