San Antonio Talent Economy: Bubble and Barriers

By SA2020 | Mar 20 2013

A report prepared by the consulting firm Manufacturing Migration
Authored by James Russell and Richey Piiparinen, Co-Principals
Report prepared for SA2020 and the 80/20 Foundation



Great Recession and Talent Migration

Phase I of the San Antonio talent migration project looked at the region’s relocation geography. (See report titled “San Antonio Talent Migration Connectivity Profile.”) Compared to the largest U.S. metros, San Antonio’s college educational attainment rate is near the bottom. There seems to be a poor concentration of talent. The perception is that the area suffers from brain drain. An extensive analysis of migration patterns revealed substantial brain gain hidden by the dramatic overall population growth. In absolute terms, San Antonio’s population with a college degree boomed from 2000-2010. It is one of the fastest growing talent markets in the entire United States. In light of the findings, the following research question arises:

How is San Antonio already succeeding in attracting college educated migrants?

Phase II of the San Antonio talent migration project seeks to answer this question with the explicit aim of catalyzing the attraction of more college graduates to the MSA and strategically channeling this flow for purposes of economic development. Using 2000 as a baselines, San Antonio’s brain gain is accelerating in recent years (2008-2011). From 2000-2007, San Antonio ranked 13th out of the 51 largest metros (population over 1 million) in percent increase for residents 25-years old and older with at least a bachelor’s degree. From 2008-2011, San Antonio is ranked 2nd. Only Jacksonville, Florida did better. The influx of talent is relatively new and suggests a different economic geography on either side of the last recession. For San Antonio, the last downturn was a game changer for the better. Continue Reading 

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