In the early 21st century, attracting knowledge workers has become an essential ingredient of urban competitiveness strategies. Such strategies are often based on theories claiming that cities should attract highly skilled talent to stay or become economically successful. Such theories have meanwhile met with considerable criticism and empirical evidence seems to make the assumptions of these theories doubtful. The most frequently seen argument is that talent moves to places where there are jobs. However, if the focus shifts from attracting to retaining or from 'necessary conditions' to additional preferences, new avenues for policy and research open up. In this article we will first review the debate so far about what attracts and retains knowledge workers. We will then add recent empirical evidence to this debate from a survey of knowledge workers in the city-regions of Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Our survey results make clear that 'knowledge workers' are a highly diverse category in which we should distinguish sub-groups with quite contrasting residential preferences. These preferences should be met to retain them to the area they settled in.
International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development – Inderscience Publishers
Published: Jan 1, 2017