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College Towns Create Career Opportunities For Gen Z

The past few years have been pretty rough for Gen Z. From the COVID pandemic to the high cost of housing ownership to (now) rising interest rates and a slowing economy, there's a lot of uncertainty on the minds of young workers.

There are some bright spots for the workforce's youngest generation however.

A new analysis by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team highlights the 15 U.S. metro areas with the largest percentages of Gen Zers (those aged 25 and under), and the results show that traditional college-centric metros are providing a lot of opportunities for young workers.

These aren't just local college grads looking for their first job. These areas are attracting an influx of workers (and not just Gen Z), looking to tap into the strong economies that have grown around clusters of higher ed.

In a lot of cases, these areas also overlap with state capitols & centers of excellence for healthcare & biosciences, creating a vibrant economy and lifestyle that creates a strong social life along with job opportunities and quality of life that attracts even more residents.

The industries with the most opportunities also tend to be attractive to younger workers: social media/marketing, design, tech, and healthcare, not to mention the "gig" and creative culture opportunities these economies tend to create organically.

From a multifamily perspective, this creates more demand for rental housing especially with affordability becoming such a big factor in choosing where to live.

Many Gen Zers are skeptical about being able to afford a home right now, but in a lot of areas like Madison, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and others, it's still possible to find nice neighborhoods with affordable rental options, especially compared to some of the larger metros where the high costs of living may be actively deterring a lot of young workers.

With a strong job base, residents can afford nicer amenities and live in neighborhoods where they can connect with other young workers who may be new to the area as well, creating a stronger sense of community. That, in turn, helps create demand for different recreational choices, restaurants, art communities and more, creating a flywheel effect for local economies that can take advantage of it.

This report isn't perfect; their methodology is based solely on LinkedIn data. That likely leaves out a certain subset of workers and metros, but it's interesting to see the amount of overlap with this list and the fastest growing cities in the US. It certainly seems more than coincidental.

Key Takeaways

  • This report supports what we've discussed in the past and highlights the types of trends we like to see in the markets where we're looking for deals.

  • Local economies in the areas that create opportunities for young workers are likely to hold up better if there's an extended downturn, and they are likely to bounce back quickly when the economy rebounds.

  • The influx of recent grads will create more demand for rental housing, especially with the current high costs of home ownership.

  • Looking in markets with a strong job base in desirable areas will continue to provide opportunities in real estate if you can find deals that fit your model.

Invest with Blue Lake Capital

If you are interested in learning more about passively investing in multifamily properties, click here to schedule a call with the Blue Lake Capital Team.

About Ellie Perlman

Ellie is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a commercial real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie partners with both institutional and individual investors to grow their wealth by achieving double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.

A defining factor of Blue Lake Capital’s strategy is founded in utilizing machine learning/artificial intelligence throughout the course of all acquisitions and asset management. This advanced technology enables the company to produce accurate and data-driven forecasting for all assets on a market, property, and even tenant basis. In doing so, Blue Lake is able to lead commercial investments with the full capabilities of today’s technology.

Ellie is the host of REady2Scale, a podcast that highlights the assets, processes, and strategies for the multiple approaches to successful real estate investing.

She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.

Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

You can read more about Blue Lake Capital and Ellie Perlman at


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