By CEO Jim Annis
The accolades are everywhere, “Reno is Starting to Look Like the Next Silicon Valley,” ‘Reno Places #9 in the Top 100 Best Places to Live,” and the list goes on. This is a speeding train. You decide whether you want a ticket to ride and then pay for it.
Unemployment peaked at almost 14 percent in 2011, when Governor Brian Sandoval signed a law aiming to diversify the state’s economy. Great companies started moving in, then Tesla and Apple hit the radar and Reno took off full speed ahead. More names keep coming, Cascade Designs. Mary’s Gone Crackers and most recently PODS. I truly believe that Tesla and Apple get too much credit. Granted, they put us on the screens of the site selectors. In all honesty we were already an option for many relocations and big names, like Microsoft who were already here. Hopefully we will continue to attract companies that are more true community partners than PR hype.
“Target 2010”, published by EDAWN in 2006 was a little premature: however, light manufacturing was one of the areas targeted for growth. Northern Nevada was/is expected to add around 50,000 jobs between 2014 and 2019. Reno’s unemployment rate is below 4 percent for the first time since 2006. The fastest job growth in the region comes from manufacturing, employing almost 15,000 workers, up 15 percent in the past two years. What does all that demand mean to you?
More Jobs Begets More Employees
You need to find good employees. That means you must pay them well. Period. Our head hunting division is the busiest it has been since the late 1990s. Think beyond the checkbox and approach hiring from a broader perspective versus, “I am looking for this specific skill and this very narrow talent pool.” Consider the entire applicant pool for wide skillsets and train them for what you need, plus behavioral and work culture nuances. Go out on a limb and hire the college student with no experience. If they have green hair – ok cool – be creative, hire them anyway and see what happens.
Helping Our Colleagues
We have a great deal of experience share for other business owners in this market, because of our position as the market leaders for HR and staffing and Professional Employer Organization services. ABC baby (Always Be Recruiting). Even in the grocery line. Spend money on talent. Competitive market demands it and beefing up your benefits packages. Be grateful you can afford it because we have been through the alternative. Enjoy the ride for the next ten years. In the old ways of Disneyland, these are the days of the E Ticket ride and thrill seekers are going to thrive. It is much more fun to be on the Matterhorn than in the tea cups.
They don’t call them growing pains because they feel good. Infrastructure – from school building to housing – is going to take years to catch up. In the interim, there will be more traffic in the spaghetti bowl. Housing prices will smart for a while and average rent in Reno is up to almost $1,000 from around $800 three years ago. Such prices are unlikely to faze the tech workers the city hopes to attract. They do pose a problem for many long-time residents who aren’t positioned to take advantage of the economic growth happening around them (a different topic entirely).
Embrace the Growth
From a business perspective, when I hear complaints about the shortcoming of infrastructure or lack of school funding, I say look at the alternative. If you want that, move somewhere else in the middle of quiet Kansas. I am jumping aboard this fast-moving train and I will not apologize for it. Each individual person sets their own pace in life. My pace is much faster than my wife’s. How fast we move personally does not always correlate to the business side. Do you have to be frantic if the pace is frantic in Nevada? Yes, because no matter what you are selling, if you cannot make a living at it when things are booming as they are now, then you should probably not be in business.