Atlanta: Winning the Race for Millennial Talent
With its fast-growing industries and thriving culture, Atlanta is setting itself up to be a flourishing workforce of the future.

By Kate Atwood, Executive Director, ChooseATL

Home to 5.7 million people and rapidly growing, with its vibrant culture and many fast-growing industries, Atlanta is a hotbed for individuals and companies alike. According to Thumbtack, Atlanta was ranked the sixth best metro for employment, labor and hiring for 2016. However, as competition for talent grows among new and emerging cities, the ability to sustain this competitive advantage will increasingly rely on the depth and quality of the region’s talent pool. This means we must work diligently to attract and retain Millennials who will comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

This next generation of workers want it all. They’re seeking collaborative workplace cultures, challenging careers and – most importantly – they’re looking for more than a paycheck. They want to be entrenched in the culture of a city. And they want to be part of a place that allows them to not only better themselves, but they truly want to make a positive impact on the city they call home.

Therefore, cultivating and promoting our region’s culture and our vibrant industries is no small task. But, with the help of today’s Atlantans and initiatives like ChooseATL, we’re setting ourselves up to have a flourishing workforce of the future.

Atlanta’s Workforce: Preparing for the Jobs of the Future

There’s no doubt that technology is a driving force in the future of the job market. The World Economic Forum even predicts that there will be 2 million new job titles and roles by 2020 due to technological advances. Think about it – titles like ‘UI/UX designer,’ ‘social media community manager’ and ‘Uber driver’ didn’t exist 10 years ago. So, in the next 10 years, predicts we’ll see titles emerge like ‘drone manager’ and ‘human technology integration specialist.’

This is exactly the kind of innovation and entrepreneurial environment that Millennials are attracted to. In fact, 54% of Millennials either want to start a business or have already started one. With over 1,000 startups, Atlanta is a thriving and supportive startup hub for aspiring Millennial entrepreneurs.

Thanks to our growing export and global economy, our local employers are also looking for a diverse and inclusive workforce that can help them connect with customers around the world. And with more than 70 colleges and universities and over 275,000 students enrolled annually (and growing), there is a steadily growing pipeline of highly skilled talent right here in Georgia.

Georgia Tech graduates the most women and minorities in engineering in the U.S., while Georgia State University has partnerships in 59 countries and hosts nearly 1,600 students from 117 countries each year. Local alternative education programs like General Assembly and the Iron Yard are also providing the technical classes and programs that professionals need to learn new skills as fast as innovation mandates.

With this talent pool right in our own backyard, the challenge then becomes keeping them here after graduation, while also attracting other brilliant minds to the city. Last year alone the city of Atlanta added approximately 70,000 new jobs, making it the eighth fastest city for job growth in the country. And that’s where our city’s culture comes into play.

Atlanta’s Culture: Offering Unlimited Opportunity

Unlike previous generations, Millennials are attracted to a city for more reasons than just employment opportunities. They flock to cities that satisfy their cravings for vibrant music scenes, the latest food spots, the arts and philanthropy – all of which are abundant in Atlanta.

The city has more than 300 recording studios, over 60 live music venues including 529, the Drunken Unicorn and Terminal West and is home to 30 annual music festivals. It is also noted as one of the nation’s top food scenes with restaurants like Staplehouse, which was not only named Bon Appetit’s Number One Best New Restaurant in America in 2016, but is changing the hospitality industry through its nonprofit, The Giving Kitchen. This philanthropic spirit is immensely appealing to Millennials since 75 percent of Gen Y’ers believe it’s important for a company give back to society instead of just making a profit. Furthermore, 84% of Millennials gave a charitable donation of their own in 2014 and desire to live in communities where they can make their mark. With approximately 7,500 nonprofits in the metro area alone, Atlanta offers this generation no limits.

Ultimately, through the collision of our industries, Millennials no longer have to compromise on what they want in their life. Instead, they can have the best of both worlds by choosing Atlanta to call home.

Atlanta’s Additional Secret Sauce: ChooseATL

Gone are the days of “if you build it, they will come.” To be a top competitive metro for talent, we must be intentional about bringing our story to the world. This makes the presence of the innovative economic development platform ChooseATL paramount in this generational workforce shift. This platform, which launched last year, shows exactly how a city can set itself up for success in this new era of talent competitiveness and economic development by sharing stories and creating experiences that highlight our region’s unique opportunity to help Millennials achieve more for themselves, as well as do more for others.

Most recently, this fall, we launched the second annual Ultimate Job Interview Contest to provide college students and recent graduates across the U.S. a unique opportunity to experience Atlanta in a fun and exciting way. Three finalists will have interviews with senior-level executives, experience a VIP tour of Atlanta and have the opportunity to win a $10,000 grand prize.

We received over 135 entries from students and recent graduates that showcase why they want to make their mark in Atlanta. You can help determine our semifinalists by voting for your favorites here. The contest will air on WSB-TV at the end of January. If you are interested in becoming more involved with ChooseATL or the contest, visit