It’s time for NH to switch its marketing pitch

For years, we’ve tried to lure companies here with some occasional success, but the value proposition is much better for employees over employers


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New Hampshire is looking for several thousand individuals to relocate to a great state, pay no sales or income tax and enjoy good schools and a safe environment, all within an hour or two from beaches, lakes, mountains and cities.

Sporting a low 2.6 percent unemployment rate, employers across the Granite State are clamoring for you, out-of-staters, to come to New Hampshire and stay, work and play here. Once you do, you won’t want to leave.

These high-quality jobs come from a diverse base of organizations. Use your soft skills, love of technology, interest in advanced manufacturing, or many other areas, as you consider joining our New Hampshire team. As an added benefit, you could meet the next president of the United States during our rousing political season. Contact a Granite State company now!

It’s no secret that help is wanted in New Hampshire. Demographers, researchers and others have been pointing out that while we are growing as a state, it’s at a very low rate. And because there are so few people looking for jobs (hence the low unemployment rate), many well-paying jobs are going unfilled.

In the tech sector alone, more than 2,000 job openings with average salaries that break the six-figure mark remain unfilled.

It’s time to switch the pitch and market ourselves to people outside of the Granite State. For many years, we’ve tried to lure companies here with some occasional success. But the value proposition is much better for employees over employers.

Taking the employee attraction approach suddenly makes issues such as higher business taxes, the cost of energy and health care, and challenging demographics, disappear. Suddenly, those perceived negatives are replaced with low taxes, a great place to raise a family, no traffic, and access to many natural resources within a short drive.

There is some urgency here. We are an aging state that has seen a drop in in-migration. That migration fueled our economy for several decades, but has dropped off over the past 10 years. Layer that atop a continuing loss of young people going to college out of state and not returning, or leaving after college, and you’ve got a massive challenge to fill jobs for today and in the future.

 

There are three ways to meet current and future workforce demand: reduce out-migration; train those in the current workforce to move up to higher skilled positions; and attract new residents to New Hampshire. While we should do all three at some level, the New Hampshire prospective employee value proposition is strong and should be marketed.

Here are some ideas:

• Colleges and universities: You have the databases and alumni who live out of state. Would you consider sending targeted messages to them to remind them what a great place the Granite State is to return, work and play?

• Businesses: Would you help support and amplify a social media marketing campaign aimed at those out of state who have some affinity to New Hampshire? Sure, this means marketing the keyword “New Hampshire,” which is totally doable. Let us know. We can build it.

• Those running for office: Consider making this a core message: Take a close look at staying, returning or moving to New Hampshire to take advantage of our tax structure, quality of life and great jobs. Repeat it again and again.

• State Legislature: Fund a social media marketing plan.

Wearing my NH High Tech Council hat, I hear daily that companies cannot find workers. Wearing my Cookson Strategic Communications marketing and PR hat, I hear that our state has a good news/bad news problem with workforce, and we don’t currently make a concerted effort to market ourselves.

It’s time to put out that digital help wanted sign. Who’s in?

Matt Cookson is president of Cookson Strategic Communications and executive director of the NH High Tech Council.

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