In the eyes of some seasoned professionals and colleagues, there is a stigma of Milwaukee. To those individuals, Milwaukee (like many other “Rust Belt” cities) is seen as old, cold and rather stodgy, not a destination that upwardly mobile millennials would want to relocate. To be fair, I have heard my fair share of woe from some of our local clients, who feel that they have “work to do” when trying to recruit young professionals to the Good Land.
In my humble opinion, they need to turn their approach upside down.
The reality is Milwaukee is quickly gaining a national reputation as a great place to live— especially among millennials. In a recent article on Underappreciated Cities You Should Totally Move To, Thrillist observes that “this hasn’t been Laverne and Shirley’s town for a long time. Milwaukee is a diverse cultural capital, boasting a world-class art museum, the world’s largest music festival Summerfest and more craft breweries than you can shake a Usinger’s meat stick at.”
With an expanding economy, a thriving music scene and summers you just can’t beat, plenty of young professionals might accept an interview in Milwaukee because of a job, but stay for the lifestyle. Downtown Milwaukee is the epicenter of this lifestyle. It is seeing a historic surge in commercial development, with more than $1.4 billion in projects underway. If you are a millennial (like me) whose 9 to 5ish requirements include a foodie spot on every corner, affordable rents and access to Lake Michigan, you should probably consider checking it out, as OnMilwaukee.com’s Jeff Sherman notes.
“The area’s commitment to recruitment, retention and quality of life building… have made Milwaukee not only a leader for younger professionals and young professional groups, but a true destination,” he says (echoing Thrillist). “It has a creative, laid-back vibe, a food and craft beer scene, a not-yet-ruined cool factor – all at reasonable prices.”
In short, while Milwaukee may have once been known for its cheese and sausage, there is much to discover. If recruiters focus their Milwaukee elevator speech on the bright future and beaming work-life balance opportunities they’ll be ordering up pints for new hires in no time.