#TheReset: NI’s opportunity lies in attracting new people as well as new jobs

Today I spoke with my old friend and Lagan College alumnus Shane Greer, who now owns and publishes Campaigns and Elections Magazine and lives and works in Washington DC about whether in order for Northern Ireland to get a good reset we need to think more globally, not to mention bigly.

The main impetus for the start of the discussion was his recent Reset essay on what he sees as a live opportunity to exploit the new home working arrangements rapidly being put in place bring well-heeled consumers from wherever they are in the world into the Northern Ireland economy.

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In it we cover:

  • In Northern Ireland, we spend too much time thinking about how things were in the past, too much time discussing things now and how they are, and too little time planning for a future and which is arriving at a far greater speed than most of us can keep up.
  • Most quickly of all work is changing. More people are shifting to remote working, which means, one more people are going to be able to work wherever they want, and two, if they are going to work wherever they want they are going to need the kinds of infrastructure that facilitates that.
  • This, Shane argues, that as well as a job creation strategy we ought to have a people attraction strategy, bringing in high-value individuals from wherever in the world they want to come from. Think of them like seeds for a whole series of journeys we have yet to imagine going on.

I was most interested in the implications of shifting the business pitch from corporates to real people looking for the kind of people wh0 might want to enjoy the best that living in Northern Ireland might have to offer. Of course, there are strengths, not least Northern Ireland’s lower cost of living.

But there are also considerable deficits that would have to be covered in order to make living in remote, rural, and/or western locations, in transport, broadband, and water infrastructure.  In anticipating changes in labour market structures early it could allow us to work with the grain of global change.

As CFO’s move staff out of big centres of populations, locality elsewhere takes on a more economically viable face. Why pay London prices for accommodation when you can afford far more space, better education for your kids, and better access to the country by relocating to (London)derry?

If you would like to get involved in #TheReset with Ulster Bank either as an individual or as part of an organisation, please do get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] with an idea for inclusion in a range of articles or events over September and October.

In the meantime, you can catch up on Cargo of Bricks and In Conversation and subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Google PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your quality podcasts.