How Barcelona can win the battle for talent in the Covid-19 era
The acute crisis caused by Covid-19 must spur the city to commit itself fully to becoming one of the most attractive cities in the world for talented people. Barcelona Global has identified the main strengths it needs to ensure that Barcelona is one the top cities for attracting talent in the future.
If talent is what adds value to the economy, creates quality employment, and prompts social progress and innovation, Barcelona is in a great position to emerge successfully from this crisis.
Talented people move the knowledge economy, through their training, innovative capacity, scientific experience, creativity and network of contacts. They are curious men and women who feel free to decide where they wish to live and for whom they wish to work and who prioritize high-quality, specialized urban environments in which to settle.
When planning for the recovery the city and its metropolitan area, it is essential to identify our strengths as a city. At Barcelona Global we are convinced that the economic and social reconstruction of Barcelona must be based on these very strengths.
There are a whole host of reasons why Barcelona can aspire to be one of the favorite cities for local and global talent to work in. These include its geographical location, its climate, lifestyle, and natural environment, not to mention its connectivity infrastructure, industrial cultural tradition and entrepreneurial spirit. Talented people are also attracted by its cutting-edge research, higher education, Mediterranean culture, economic diversification, international positioning, and its fame as a highly desirable city to live in and visit.
Diversified economic fabric
Barcelona’s economy is highly diversified. It has a substantial tourist sector and highly internationalized car, pharmaceutical, audiovisual, chemical, textile, and electronics industries; it enjoys logistics with great potential, with a network of ports and a well-positioned airport; lastly, it has a growing knowledge economy, with large multinational digital hubs and an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is among the most competitive in Europe, not to mention a highly efficient scientific research sector. Barcelona should seek to add value to its economic fabric by prioritizing activities and investments that put the talent and knowledge economy first.
The Barcelona of talent needs to be aware of its critical mass, with a metropolitan area of more than 4,000,000 inhabitants and an economic and cultural region it serves as its capital. This is a region that runs from Turin to Alicante, via the Balearic Islands, taking in Algiers, Zaragoza to Toulouse. Barcelona can provide leadership of this macro-region with ambitious plans for training, culture, entrepreneurship, investment, logistics and industry.
"Infrastructures, scientific, educational and entrepreneurial ecosystem, industrial tradition, city brand, social awareness, are the bases from which to base the strategy for Barcelona to emerge victorious from this crisis".
It will be essential to base our strategy for the future on our strengths:
- Competitive infrastructure::
- An online network and sufficient bandwidth with the capacity to grow, to connect us to each other and to the world efficiently. In a world where teleworking will be key, Barcelona is well-placed to present itself to the world as a superbly well-connected city.
- A competitive port and airport that have the capacity to grow and which, uniquely in Europe, are also both close to each other and to the city center.
- A high-speed rail system that guarantees Barcelona's potential as the capital of a Mediterranean arc that runs from Marseille to Alicante and includes both Zaragoza and Toulouse.
- A trade fair complex (the Fira de Barcelona) with three venues (Montjuïc, Hospitalet and Forum) that is capable of becoming one of the very best locations for meetings, conventions and global commerce.
- A network of infrastructures for science such as the Super Computer, the Alba Synchrotron, the Sala Blanca, and the CNAG, all of which serve global science.
- Barcelona-based centers of excellence for cutting-edge research in basic and applied science::
- The centers associated with the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST)
- The research centers associated with CSID and the influential universities in Catalonia.
- The life sciences research generated together with Barcelona's major hospitals and the associated entrepreneurial, pharmaceutical, medical industry and investment ecosystem.
- A health system in Spain and Catalonia that enjoys great results in coverage and excellence through a network of primary care centers, hospitals and a system of health insurance companies and private care.
- A reputation as a city that is exceptionally well-known around the worlddue to its appeal to tourists, its architectural and cultural legacy, its sport, and its Mediterranean lifestyle and gastronomy.
- A local government system that has a government majority and budgets broadly supported by a political majority, a city government which is also in tune with Spanish government and the budgets of the Catalan government.
- An active civil society that is represented in important bodies and citizen and sectorial platforms, as well as in influential support networks.
- An entrepreneurial ecosystem that enjoys great vitality,results and growth capacity.
- A food sector that impacts on its entire value chain: from production in the primary sector to global distribution and Barcelona-based food multinationals.
- A competitive tourism infrastructure that favors quality and “experience” tourism , the basis of the tourism of the future.
- A higher education sector with global champions that aim to grow vigorously strongly as an important element of our economy.
- The tradition and practice of excellence in trade fairs and congresses that has turned Barcelona into the world capital of the mobile phone, home for the new ICE audiovisual fair and the Alimentaria food fair, and a benchmark for urban technologies through the Smart Cities World Congress & Expo.
- Public services that are able to provide a response to the crises we have experienced recently.
- A network of local social bodies which are highly committed and active in volunteer and charity work.
Barcelona needs to build its strategy for the future on these strengths if it is to become one of the best cities in the world for talent and economic activity.