Measuring Talent

by Rachel Vilsack

According to a new report (pdf) from the MN State Demographic Center, workers with higher-order skills and education – or “talent” – are an important part of our state’s workforce. The ability to train, retain, and recruit talented workers will impact our current and long-term economic growth.  So, how does Minnesota’s talent stack up?


The report identifies two measures of talent:

  • Degreed Talent – adults age 25 or older who have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Creative Talent – workers who are entrepreneurs, engaged in creative occupations, or those who work in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) fields


When it comes to Degreed Talent, Minnesota’s population is one of the most educated in the nation. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 32.4 percent of the state’s adult population had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2012. The report notes that relative to other states, “the Minnesota-born workforce is more likely to remain in Minnesota (or return after being away).” In fact, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in the retention of Degreed Talent and 6th highest in the retention of Creative Talent.


That’s not to suggest that talented individuals from outside Minnesota – or even the United States – aren’t important!  The report finds that current Minnesota residents born outside the state are more likely to possess a graduate or professional degree than native Minnesotans. International talent flows to Minnesota between 2007 and 2010 also increased compared to a decade prior.


Talented workers are important to our future economy. Many of Minnesota’s fastest growing jobs will require training beyond high school, including those jobs that offer high pay.


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