–submitted by Rick Kiley; photo by Mike Engelberger
Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, addressed our Club regarding “Madison’s Business Climate,” citing four trends to explain where we are headed.
The first trend is “sector density,” the types of jobs and industry we have. These include growing industries such as biomedicine and bioscience, health tech and information technology. Three-fourths of local jobs created are diverse sources in the private sector, not just Epic Systems; recent hiring is by Google, Amazon, Zen Desk and Microsoft.
One reason for this job creation is jobs in technology and engineering are easily filled with local employees and do not pay relatively high salaries.
The second trend is our development of talent. We are a large market for software creation. State-wide software development is nearly as large an employer as manufacturing.
We have a significant in-migration of “millennial” workers, born in the late 1970s. Unlike most cities, in Madison this group tends to buy homes and settle.
The third trend cited is our area’s reputation. We have a lot to boast.
Recently, Forbes magazine listed us fifth among cities “winning the battle” for info-tech jobs; the Millken Institute ranks us eleventh among cities for high-tech job growth; per capita, we rank fourteenth for raising venture capital to fund early-stage companies.
In addition, we rank #1 among cities for successful aging. What underlies these encouraging rankings? Proximity to education, Mr. Brandon says. However, we are nearly the most income-segregated city, a troubling situation that requires the attention of the entire community.
The fourth trend is wealth creation. “Madison is the epitome of how to win the coming jobs war”, he says.
Concluding, Mr. Brandon sees the Madison area as “on the upswing,” but we “need to learn how to brag” to communicate our strengths, that “we are the next big thing;” “we solve the world’s problems;” and “we export solutions.”
CLICK to watch the video on our club’s YouTube Channel.