Not a Political Post: Does Ohio being a “red state” make it harder to recruit to our region?

by | Dec 5, 2016 | NE Ohio in the News, Recruitment & Relocation

ohio-map-votingThis is NOT a political post, and we are very mindful about keeping our individual opinions out of the objective info we share about NE Ohio because we work with people from all walks of life. But, in the last two weeks, we have heard from several corporate clients that it has become harder to recruit from out of town because Ohio was tagged as a “red state” in the last election and to many, in this past bitterly contested battle, “red state” has become synonymous with intolerance, especially if you fall into a few specific buckets (Muslim, black, Jewish, gay, etc.).
And, since Executive Arrangements’ entire mission as a company is to help our clients attract the best possible talent from all over the world by showcasing all that Cleveland and Akron have to offer (regardless of lifestyle or political beliefs), we felt this topic needed to be addressed.
Last week, a client told me something to this effect…We are working hard to make our senior management team reflect our global presence so expect about 20% of our candidates to be international recruits next year with an emphasis on women and minorities. After this election, I actually got push back from candidates in other countries who are open to the idea of a move to the US but are concerned that Ohio is a “red state” and not open to people of different faiths, colors, and sexual orientations.
And, we’ve had three transferees (two from California, one from New York state) in the past few weeks who have quietly shared their concerns about our region as a result of this last election. And, it makes us nervous to think that on top of overcoming the general reticence out-of-towners have about Cleveland, we have inadvertently added another layer to this wooing process.
Cleveland, and the entire NE Ohio area, is riding a wonderful wave of optimism and growth – two teams in championship games this year, a vibrant convention business including the RNC convention, downtown Cleveland is finally becoming a true residential neighborhood with amenities, dozens of construction cranes working on many projects…it feels like we are at a tipping point that could forever change the trajectory of our region’s future, for the good, and we can’t afford a back step.
So, all our staff members reassure newcomers and recruits alike that NE Ohio is as warm and welcoming as it’s ever been! Check out the voting map above. See that blue patch at the top along Lake Erie’s southern shore? That’s Cleveland/Akron!  That is NOT to say that our region doesn’t have many influential Republicans, conservatives, and those who celebrated after the last election living here as well. We do, and they are as welcome as anyone. Our region is a blend of liberals, moderates and conservatives!
Our town has a history of being open to new ideas and people of every persuasion. Immigrants from more than 100 different countries and regions created our town over the past 250 years, and diversity is reflected in our architecture, markets and restaurants, houses of worship, and rainbow flags. We feel that diversity is part of the fabric that gives our town authenticity and grit, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We can help any newcomer find their areas of interest. Our town is open for gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, conservative, liberal or indifferent. So, even though Ohio’s electoral votes ended up on the Republican’s tally, Cleveland and Akron are diverse and welcoming and we can connect you to the lifestyle that works for you and your family.
If you are a recruiter and you have experienced any of these issues, let us know! We can help you with talent attraction and retention by providing the info your recruits need to make an educated decision about a move to NE Ohio.