Young professionals speak in call to action
Few subjects in our community have been discussed more in recent years than what Memphis and Shelby County should do to keep and attract young professionals. Now, for the first time, we have the facts, and best of all, they come from the young professionals themselves.
What these 25- to 34-year-old college-educated men and women told Yacoubian Research in a scientific poll for PeopleFirst Partnership, a Memphis Fast Forward initiative, is encouraging, instructive and a call to action for our community. It answers questions of what is important to them, what they see as our community’s strengths and weaknesses, and what matters most when they decide whether they are going to stay here or encourage their friends to join them here.
The results from the survey show:
— Nearly six in 10 young professionals gave a grade of “excellent” or “good” to overall quality of life in Memphis and Shelby County.
— Almost one in five said they would be “very likely” to recommend to their friends that they live here, and those with graduate degrees are twice as likely. Another 32 percent are “somewhat likely” and it is these who could be moved into the very likely category if the right strategies are in place.
— Young professionals see the community’s major strengths as 1) family and friends, 2) Downtown entertainment district, 3) overall cost of living, and 4) access to green spaces.
— Major weaknesses are 1) quality of K-12 schools, 2) access to safe/low-crime neighborhoods, and 3) availability of good-paying jobs.
— The major weaknesses are also obstacles to recommending Memphis to friends and colleagues. Conversely, the best ways to keep young professionals from leaving and to encourage their friends to move here are increasing the number of good-paying jobs, increasing access to safe neighborhoods and improving K-12 schools.