Image and inertia are creating barriers to building a world-class, diverse professional workforce in the Kanawha Valley.
That’s among the key findings of a first-of-its-kind research project released by the Charleston Area Alliance.
The study, called MAGNET: Managing, Attracting and Growing New and Existing Talent, was undertaken to identify issues that impact recruitment and retentions of minority professionals in our region.
Research findings and recommendations for the future will be the focus of the Alliance’s next “inclusion=innovation” luncheon program on Dec. 19.
Speakers will include:
- Jeff James, Mythology Marketing CEO and lead researcher on the project
- Crystal Good, director of brand experience at Mythology
- John Gianola, Ernst & Young
- Ned Rugeley, Spilman, Thomas & Battle, a lead partner on the research initiative
Register to attend the event HERE.
Registration is $15 per person.
“Business today is driven by innovation, which depends on attracting and retaining top talent,” said Alliance Senior Vice President JoEllen Zacks.
“Companies and our communities lose out if real or perceived barriers prevent them from recruiting the best and the brightest to the Kanawha Valley. Our region competes globally for jobs, capital and people, and the welcome mat must be out to all if we are to be successful.”
The MAGNET study also found that:
- The image of the Kanawha Valley presents challenges in recruiting. Perceptions of West Virginia among those outside the state are negative or neutral. “We heard directly from corporate recruiters that it is more difficult to ‘sell’ the Valley within the context of West Virginia’s image,” said Zacks.
- A significant lack of minority professional and business “infrastructure” (social activities, personal care items and services, etc.) creates a chicken-and-egg problem.
- The same issues that negatively impact retention of young professionals, such as a lack of quality housing and limited cultural, social and entertainment amenities, impact minority talent.
- The Kanawha Valley has solid historical and current assets to build upon that could attract minority professionals (including the legacy of Leon Sullivan, West Virginia State University and a strong network of diverse houses of worship).
The MAGNET project is part of the Alliance’s ‘inclusion=innovation’ initiative sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services that is dedicated to leveraging diverse and inclusive ways of thinking to continue delivering high quality work for clients around the world.