Strategies for tackling the talent crisis in cities

The numbers speak for themselves: In New York City, municipal job vacancies skyrocketed to four times the rate they were before COVID. In Philadelphia, city officials reported that 4,000 unfilled jobs were "leading to chronic problems" in service delivery. And in Dallas, where the vacancy rate has reached 20 percent, the human resources director said cities like hers "need to find creative ways to attract and retain qualified workers."


It was with that primary aim—to strengthen recruitment and retention practices in city halls—that leaders from 15 global cities came together last month in Cambridge, Mass. There, they zeroed in on four talent-focused approaches, based on research and expertise from The People Lab and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, that local leaders everywhere can consider as they look to build, strengthen, and support their teams.