Living preferences of STEM workers in a high-tech business park of a peripheral region
Research Memorandum by Inge Hooijen & Frank Cörvers
Despite the importance of STEM workers to regional economies, scientists and policymakers have a limited understanding of how to recruit this scarce target group, particularly in offering an attractive living environment. This case study uses selfreported overall life satisfaction to explore the living preferences of STEM workers employed at a high-tech business park (HTBP) in a demographically shrinking region in the southern periphery of the Netherlands. We argue that individuals’ self-evaluation of life satisfaction is a proxy for their individual utility and thereby indicates the preferred features of the geographical unit in which they reside. We relate the survey data of 420 employees at the business park to the specific characteristics of the municipalities they live in, complemented by qualitative data from 32 semi-structured interviews with these workers. We conclude that the average STEM worker at the HTBP prefers to reside in places of lower extraversion, which are often characterized by a suburban lifestyle, green areas, and open spaces, including a little touch of consumer amenities.