Young Professionals

While the definition of a young professional can vary, generally they are characterized as highly entrepreneurial, civic-minded people between the ages of 21 and 40 with a college degree. And, they’re more economically important than you might guess!

Young professionals are the most likely to start a business or be involved in other entrepreneurial activities.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), 17.3 percent of 25-34 year-olds are involved with either starting a business or managing a new business. Research also suggests that businesses started by young, college-educated individuals are the most likely to have high growth potential and are among the most technologically innovative.

Young professionals tend to have the highest levels of educational attainment among any age group.

According to economist Enrico Moretti at the University of California at Berkeley, for every college graduate who takes a job in an innovation industry, five additional jobs are eventually created in that city. The result? Regions with a well-educated population experience greater growth in per capita income.

Young professionals play an especially important role in meeting the labor needs of fast-growing knowledge-based firms.

They are one potential source of labor for filling anticipated worker shortages created by retiring baby boomers; but the next generation of talent is smaller in size than their baby boomer predecessors – meaning it’s more important than ever to attract and retain local talent.

Young professionals are recruited nationwide from a number of businesses, downtown organizations, economic development districts and labor markets for a wide variety of reasons.

They are the most mobile segment of the labor force and are often willing to relocate for both economic and quality of life reasons.  In fact, 62 percent of college graduates pick a place to live before they have a job!

With a million young adults moving each year, the stakes are high for Sacramento. Earning a good living is important but the best and brightest are looking for more than just a paycheck. Young professionals seek a place to live with a great quality of life and the culture and amenities to support it, often near the city core. Young professionals represent nearly 25 percent of the downtown population in large metro areas, up from 13 percent in 1970.

According to the 2010 census, just over 10,000 25-34 year-olds live in Sacramento’s “close-in neighborhoods” (places within 3 miles of the center downtown) – that’s a 41.2 percent increase since 2000. By comparison, Denver’s Metropolitan area saw a 51 percent increase and Nashville, a 61 percent increase during the same time period. Denver and Nashville, both former Metro Chamber Study Mission cities, are considered two of the top places for relocating young professionals nationwide.

Put simply, young professionals are an indicator of the overall health and attractiveness of a metropolitan area.

As Sacramento competes for young talent, both in retention and attraction, strong, thriving “close-in” neighborhoods with career opportunities, good schools, affordable housing, and recreational activities will be critical to its success.