Young professionals love Buffalo Niagara, but some are afraid they won't be as successful here as they could be elsewhere. That's according to a survey released Monday by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and its young professional program, BN360.
With the local population of young professionals projected to trend downward, the group is focused on helping its members recruit, develop and retain young talent in Western New York.
"We've got our work cut out for us," said Grant Loomis, vice president of government affairs at the Partnership.
The data is based on survey responses from 326 people ages 25 to 34, many of them BN360 members, and may not be representative of the local population at large.
The Partnership will use the results to help shape its programming and what it communicates to employers and the public sector, it said.
Though 97 percent of respondents said they would recommend the region to others, and 88 percent said they could see themselves remaining in Buffalo 10 years from now, just 76 percent said they believe there is opportunity for career growth here.
That is especially the case with young professionals of color. Only 7 percent of respondents were non-white but, among them, 60 percent said they see opportunity for advancement here. By contrast, 83 percent of white respondents said they felt their careers could flourish in the region. The Partnership hopes its new Diversity and Inclusion Council can begin to address that problem.
Overall, employers need to communicate the jobs that are available and show clear paths for advancement, Loomis said. They also need to understand the kind of experiences young professionals are looking for in their lives and careers, then do what they can to foster them.
Employers can begin by helping cultivate community involvement, education and civic vitality – three issues closest to respondents' hearts, according to survey results.
"Their responses indicate they don't want to sit on the sidelines. They want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty," Loomis said. "They want to move the needle on issues that impact the region and we need to help them navigate that."
Though Buffalo Niagara has outpaced the rest of the country when it comes to recent growth of its young professional population, it is projected to lag in the coming years, Loomis said. Buffalo Niagara is expected to lose 1 percent of its young professionals over the next five years, while the rest of the country increases its population by 4 percent, according to projections based on U.S. Census data, the Partnership said.
The survey, conducted online from May through August, was sent to 900 young professionals, including the Partnership's 740 BN360 members. Of that potential pool, 326 people responded.
The Partnership will discuss the study findings at a free event from 8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 25 at the Marquis Ballroom in the Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington St.