Amazon’s HQ2 Decision Depends on the “Culture”

By CultureBanx Team

  • Amazon reports around 18% of its workforce is black

  • Washington D.C. offers an educated workforce, HBCUs and the federal government

Amazon’s (AMZN -0.38%) high stakes economic investment for HQ2 is continuing with some front runners like Washington D.C. emerging from the pack. The e-commerce juggernaut needs to be in a city with a strong talent pipeline and urban amenities like public transportation and culture.

Why This Matters: In Cushman & Wakefield’s Tech Cities report, D.C. landed at #3 on the list and was propelled by its educated workforce, top universities and the presence of the federal government. The city has a population that’s 47% black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a number that’s nearly four times the national average of 13%. Setting up shop in D.C. could easily up the company’s black employee representation. Currently, Amazon reports around 18% of its workforce is black, though it’s important to note they fold their warehouse and retail staff into overall employment diversity numbers.

Black homeownership stands at more than 40% in the city

Amazon said it was looking for a city equal to its Seattle headquarters. People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal the company would give preference to cities with lots of tech talent, good public transit and attractive tax incentives. Not to mention, D.C. is perhaps an easy sell when it comes to attracting other employees to relocate to the area. Black homeownership stands at more than 40% in the city.

Being in the backyard of lawmakers could also prove to be a win-win for the company, especially as conversations around the company’s labor practices and potential antitrust regulation is starting to gain momentum. A little food for thought here, the Journal of Urban Economics found there’s a 10% higher rate at which government officials are convicted of federal corruption crimes, is directly associated with a 1.2% greater probability of offering business incentives.

What’s Next: D.C. has an economic center that includes affluent black households in proximity to the region’s major education centers. As Amazon looks to build out its talent pipeline, they will most likely tap into the HBCUs in the area like Google (GOOG + 0.78%) has done with Howard University. Amazon says it will announce its HQ2 decision by the end of the year.

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