The “American dream” is known to include a home in the suburbs, but due to nationwide housing shortages and crippling student debt, people simply aren’t able to settle in the suburbs. (And they aren’t working there either.)

In fact, of the over 300,000 jobs created in Illinois in the past six years, nearly 90% of them were added in the Chicago metro area.

This flush of downtown talent isn’t exclusive to Chicago. Big cities across the nation are seeing a revival thanks to the large percentage of younger generations living in downtown areas.

Data reveals that more young people are living in the biggest U.S. cities than anytime since the 1970s.This makes it difficult for employers to fill open positions at their suburban headquarters as Baby Boomers are retiring.

It’s for this reason that companies are uprooting their quiet offices for higher rent but more plentiful talent in downtown office space.

Of course, not every company can afford to relocate its headquarters in order to have more local access to a larger talent pool. So, what can you do to remain a viable employer option for candidates that favor big-city living?

For those relocating to your office, add a sign-on bonus to your benefit offering. Already offer this benefit? Consider benchmarking your existing relocation policy to find other benefits to help attract talent to your area.

You also need to offer office perks that highlight a desirable workplace culture.

Younger generations value work-life balance more so than prior generations. They seek perks such as on-site cafeterias, on-site health classes or complimentary gym memberships, and flexible work schedules that allow them to work based on their energy levels versus strict start and end times.

Additional perks like mileage reimbursement can also help convince candidates that your suburban positions are worth the daily trek from the city. In fact, Wisconsin-based company Trek (located in a small suburb outside of Madison) offers an incentive to employees who bike to work.

Remote work flexibility is another value-add that many young job candidates seek. Offering even just one day per week for your employees to work remotely can help ease the idea of a commute for city-dwellers. Plus, remote work opportunities have been shown to increase employee engagement, happiness, and productivity levels.

With the bulk of today’s younger job candidates unable to save for a home in the suburbs, you need to be creative in attracting from this talent pool, especially if you’re competing with existing downtown employers.

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