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Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

By Robert Trigaux
Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]

A correction to the Forbes magazine list was sent by email to the Tampa Bay Times on June 7. Forbes on May 22 published its 2017 ranking of the best 25 larger metropolitan areas in the country — including the Tampa Bay area listed at No. 19 — for young professionals. Forbes sent out a correction saying the list is partially wrong because it relied on incorrect data. The Tampa Bay Times cited the Forbes story and ranking on May 22. Forbes now says Tampa Bay and six other originally ranked metro areas, including Jacksonville, no longer made the corrected top 25. Three southeastern metros remain on the corrected ranking: Raleigh, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta. Forbes now says the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area ranks 58th among the 100 largest metro areas.

Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

Forbes on Monday released its 2017 ranking of the best 25 larger metropolitan areas in the country for young professionals. Tampa Bay ranked No. 19 nationwide out of the 100 largest metro areas and, remarkably, was listed higher than such youth-branded cities as Boston, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The recognition suggests Tampa Bay is increasingly getting its act together in making itself welcome to young professional talent. Area universities are becoming better than ever at networking their students into the business community and helping bridge the gap between college life and finding a career path here.

Groups like Emerge Tampa, St. Pete Young Professionals and the Tampa Hillsborough EDC millennial "ambassadors" group known as StandUp Tampa that help spread the word of opportunity in Tampa Bay are well regarded. And the chambers of commerce in Tampa and St. Petersburg have or recently had younger chairmen (currently Mike Griffin in Tampa, and Greg Holden last year in St. Pete) signaling the old guard welcomes the new guard.

Tampa Bay landed at No. 19 on the Forbes' top 25 — a list of cities that include some lesser knowns among the most expected — based on a combination of these factors: salary, rent, employment prospects, networking opportunities and social outlook.

Of the six metrics used, Forbes says the best predictor of whether a metro would make the list was the median salary earned by college grads with less than five years of experience. At $47,900, Tampa Bay's salary cited by Forbes is not its strongest suit, ranking 22nd among the 25 metros.

One category in which Tampa Bay outranked all other 24 chosen metro areas that surprised me? Forbes listed this area No. 1 for the highest percentage (17 percent) of its population between 20 and 29. That age group in established millennial hotspots like Denver, Austin and Seattle, for instance, is smaller at 14, 16 and 12 percent, respectively.

So congratulations, Tampa Bay. Sure, this is just one more survey in a survey-drenched world. But this area's come a long way from such images of aging retirees as green benches and nicknames like "God's waiting room."

Those days are fading fast.

Millennials, take note.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.