The Fight for Talent

May 16, 2022Doug Peters, President & CEO

The Fight for Talent

I was in a meeting last week discussing forward plans for our business community, and the number one email, call and challenge that our team hears that our business community is facing came up for discussion.


We’ve talked a lot about workforce and how the pandemic impacted recruiting talent. The future of workforce has been debated for years, but the landscape businesses are currently navigating is unprecedented.

Much like World War I or World War II – the war itself, like the pandemic, temporarily removed workers from the workforce, and after the wars, many were slow to return to the workforce. Some were injured or experienced life changes caused by the war, which presented new challenges to workers trying to return.

With the pandemic forcing many companies to implement work-from-home procedures, the landscape changed even more. Childcare became a challenge, and workers are now wanting more freedom and independence in their jobs as Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Zers) have become the predominant workforce as Boomers retire en-masse.

Even more than before, people choose where they can experience the best quality of life possible and then find jobs in that area or take a remote job.

While this fight for talent isn’t unique to our community, it makes the need for placemaking even more prevalent. And, there’s not a one size fits all option. It takes many pieces working together to create the Abilene of tomorrow. The Abilene where you thrive, your business thrives, and our community thrives.

And one piece to that giant puzzle is a program we’re very proud of called Abilene Young Professionals. Now in its 7th year and led by an outstanding group of young professionals, they’re proof of giving young leaders an idea and then getting out of the way and watching that idea come to fruition.

About five years ago, they had an idea to create a regional Leadership Summit where young professionals across West Texas could come together for a single day of professional development and networking.

That dream is now a reality, and we’re proud to say the fourth sesquiennial West Texas Young Professional Leadership Summit will happen this Nov. 17 right here in Abilene.

And that’s not the only program AYP puts together. Between their monthly networking events, quarterly leadership luncheons, and their quest to help non-profits find their next generation of leaders, they’re helping create a community in the age demographic our Abilene businesses need for success.

And I know what you’re thinking, “November is forever away – we’ll worry about it this fall.”

But, if we don’t begin helping these leaders create a place for the talent of today, we won’t be ready for the talent of tomorrow.

So I ask you if you have a young professional looking to get involved, encourage them to learn more about AYP. You’ll be glad you did.




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