How to attract investment and talent

At the headquarters of many multinationals, strategic investment decisions are taken today that will affect the future well-being of hundreds of territories and millions of families around the world.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 April 2024 Wednesday 05:01
10 Reads
How to attract investment and talent

At the headquarters of many multinationals, strategic investment decisions are taken today that will affect the future well-being of hundreds of territories and millions of families around the world. These decisions aim to accommodate capital and talent where they are most efficient.

This process takes on special relevance at a time when two unprecedented situations converge. On the one hand, the need to order globalization in the face of growing geopolitical disinterest, redirecting investments towards friendly countries. On the other hand, the emergence of technologies, scientific advances and environmental regulations, which require globally locating businesses that did not exist before (AI, semiconductors, electric mobility, green hydrogen, robotics, 3D, biotechnology...).

Many of the criteria considered in making these decisions change across sectors. And the human factor always counts: the trust of the parent company in the local team is fundamental, and the relationship of the decision-makers with suppliers, partners or key customers or even with local politicians.

Other requirements are indeed general, and are recurrently found in the spreadsheets that precede any decision. Political stability and the strength of institutions and regulatory agencies is one. Another, the legal certainty and equal treatment granted to foreigners. And a third is the existence of an attractive tax framework for both corporate and personal tax, as it facilitates importing talent. The quality of university and technical training (our maligned professional training), necessary to incorporate local talent, is fundamental to deciding many investments. The quality and openness of the schools is also important, which influences the displacement of the families of managers and experts.

The size of the market in which the resulting products will be sold without obstacles is also key (we count on the EU). The existence of sectoral specialization is always decisive, whether it comes from a pre-existing local business fabric or is the result of large public investments (and for this reason the importance of the Perte aimed at strengthening and creating specialization clusters). For many of these investments (for example, data centers or industrial investments) it will be essential to have safe and cheap sources of energy and, nowadays, of renewable origin (an overdue advantage for Spain). For others, an acceptable labor cost will be essential. In many investments, the quality of the infrastructures will be relevant (roads, trains, ports, airports, fiber optics...). In others, legal protection for research and innovation, tax incentives and its social prestige weigh more heavily.

A common element in all decisions is the agility of administrative procedures, as well as the political effort to reduce bureaucracy and paperwork. Of course the macroeconomic situation and good governance matter, as well as the strength of the banking system and financial markets. And finally, corruption is required to be eradicated and, more and more, a culture of effort, transparency and honesty.

Responsible political leaders compete around the world to pass this scrutiny. They know that these strategic investments will be followed by others, by local companies and other investors, shaping together, indelibly and for generations, the success or failure of cities, regions and entire countries.