Ann Arbor has always been a place rich with talent, and demand for that talent has only increased over the past few years as the number of job opportunities has increased. While this is a great indicator of the strength of Ann Arbor’s economy, it puts more pressure on recruiters and other human resources professionals to acquire the talent they need within their organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK can help alleviate that pressure.

Ann Arbor’s talent pool spans a much larger geography than you might think.

The geographic footprint of Ann Arbor’s workforce may be different than you’d expect. In total, Ann Arbor is a “net importer” of jobs — meaning during the day, more people are commuting to work in Ann Arbor than are leaving. Data show that about 100,000 people drive into Washtenaw County to work, about 88,000 live and work in Washtenaw County, and about 60,000 people live here and work elsewhere. Over 1,000,000 people live within a 30-minute drive time of Ann Arbor. But at the company level, the makeup could look different. Here’s an example of workers for a cybersecurity company, based in Ann Arbor — you can see how many people are driving in from Detroit, Oakland County, Brighton, Howell, and other regions. It’s not uncommon for some companies to find talent willing to commute from northern Ohio or Windsor, Canada.

According to research conducted by the Chicago Booth School of Business, Ann Arbor ranks #11 for remote work nationally. According to this research, 37 percent of U.S. jobs can plausibly be performed at home (accounting for 46 percent of all wages). This ranking indicates a “readiness” to shift to remote work, with a high concentration of remote-ready employees in a relatively small population.

Snapshot: Employee Distribution

One Ann Arbor-based cybersecurity company employs more than 200 people living in Washtenaw County and throughout the region.


The SPARK Talent Portal: A free online job posting system that spotlights executive and knowledge-based positions as well as internships and entry-level positions. Check out the portal.

Talent Search and Recruitment Experts: Local recruiters can help you connect with top, specialized talent. Check out a list of regional recruitment professionals.

Training Grants: SPARK will work closely with you to maximize the utilization of worker training programs and funds that are available for companies in our region. Learn more about the programs.

Talent Grants: SPARK offers grants to engage interns and executive-level talent for startups headquartered in Ann Arbor

Academic Relationships: There are great business “front door” organizations like the University of Michigan’s Office of Corporate Relations or Eastern Michigan University’s Engage@EMU programs. Be sure to check in with Washtenaw Community College, Michigan Tech, Kettering, and Michigan State University. Make the most of your Handshake profile, as most colleges use it for recruiting and events. Read more about building these relationships.

Ann Arbor Tech Homecoming: In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, SPARK hosts a casual evening with job seekers and companies as they mingle over delicious food and great conversation. This is an opportunity for local and out-of-town talent to learn about careers in the vibrant Ann Arbor tech ecosystem.

University of Michigan Startup Career Fair: This annual event connects 750+ entrepreneurially-minded students in all majors to internships and full-time opportunities at 45+ high-growth startups from across the country.

tech[inclusive]: A non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underrepresented people in tech, and empowering allies to become advocates.

Eastern Michigan University Digital Divas: Eastern Michigan University’s College of Technology hosts a yearly conference that connects young women in middle and high school to opportunities in STEM.

Pricing Talent: SPARK can do a review using PayScale to determine wage data in specific job categories. We recommend continuously benchmarking and adjusting pay structures and benefits (when necessary). Pricing can vary depending on skill set, experience, and other factors.