Montreal (Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock)
Amazon’s announcement that it would be opening a second headquarters in North America kicked off a process that saw 238 cities apply for the opportunity to gain a projected 50,000 jobs and billions in construction projects for their economy. The Seattle-based tech giant has whittled the list of proposals down to 20 and will certainly have advantageous terms wherever HQ2 ends up being built, but Amazon is also benefitting from this process in some unseen ways—as are the cities that didn’t make the cut.
Nick Wingfield of the New York Times reports that a few of the submissions passed over for the recent list of finalists, including those of Kansas City, Montreal, and Detroit, earned favorable opinions from Amazon’s leadership even if they won’t be the site of the company’s second headquarters. For example, Montreal’s plan for attracting foreign talent impressed them, Kansas City outlined programs for teaching technical skills in schools and veteran hiring strategies that aligned with the company’s values and priorities, and Detroit impressed in a number of ways despite missing the cut, in part due to a lack of regional talent. As a result of putting their best foot forward, those cities could end up as future locations for an Amazon warehouse or satellite office.
“Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation,” Amazon’s head of economic development Holly Sullivan said in a statement.
Last year, we looked at the changes legacy US automakers have been making to their corporate cultures and recruiting practices in an effort to lure talent away from Silicon Valley and into the increasingly high-tech field of automobile design and manufacturing. Bloomberg Tech checks up on what these companies are doing now to entice tech talent, particularly millennials, to choose Detroit over Palo Alto:
What Detroit has going for it is the ability to get innovative cars on the road relatively quickly. That can be appealing for young auto-techies bent on changing the world. Then there’s the cost of living, dirt cheap in Detroit compared with the Valley, along with modern urban lofts sprouting among the gritty downtown streets.
Still, Detroit remains a tough sell, given the Valley’s $1 million signing bonuses and fat equity stakes in promising startups. The car companies’ answer tends to fall in the work-life balance category, with features that have become almost cliches such as treadmill desks and “hoteling” stations for staffers passing through. …
General Motors is seeing a marked increase in job applications, and its recent investments in high-tech firms like the autonomous-vehicle startup Cruise Automation may have something to do with it, Joann Muller reports at Forbes:
GM usually sees about 27,000 white-collar applicants globally each month, but in April, nearly 35,000 people applied for non-factory jobs. Most apply for more than one position, so the number of applications submitted also jumped, from the usual 50,000 to nearly 68,000. It’s hard to say whether the March 11 Cruise Automation deal for a reported $1 billion – or GM’s $500 million investment in the Lyft car-sharing service two months earlier – contributed to the surge, but GM Chief Executive Mary Barra thinks so.
“Quite frankly,” she said in an interview, “it has changed the conversation about GM,” which will hire 27,000 salaried professionals worldwide over the next five years. The moves signaled to outsiders that a resurgent GM intends to be a leader in advanced technologies and future mobility, she said.