Last night, 400 of Barcelona’s most committed professionals gathered at the Palauet Albéniz on Montjuic for an “inspiring cocktail” to not only celebrate what this city has to offer, but more importantly, to identify Barcelona’s biggest weaknesses and set a course to improve them. The Barcel-Hola event was presented by Barcelona Global, the independent, not-for-profit civil society designed to “make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in the world for business and talent.”
In addition to welcoming Barcelona’s international community and unifying all of the various groups and industries under the Barcelona Global beacon, the event also showcased the results of the International Professional Talent Monitor 2013 survey that was conducted over the last 2 months. The anonymous survey was completed by 326 respondents, all of whom were born outside of Spain. The objective was to rate the city of Barcelona based on the experiences we have been through in the subjects of Work, Business, and Life since arriving here.
Not surprisingly, Barcelona ranked extremely well in the subjects of “infrastructure for international connectivity of the city”, “the quality and quantity of public spaces per neighborhood”, “cultural art performances (theatre, music & museums),” all scoring above a 7 on the 10-point scale. However, other areas received more critical reviews as the process for obtaining a “NIE”, “Visa”, and “driver’s license” in the city came with scores under 5. The reviews didn’t improve for Barcelona’s startup scene as entrepreneurs gave low scores for the “ease of starting a business”, “attracting local investors”, and “obtaining assistance for entrepreneurial activities by public administration.” Lastly, a subject critical for attracting and retaining top-level talent, Barcelona scored a 3 out of 10 on the topic of “competitive salary relative to other countries.” These are the areas that demand our attention to make Barcelona an attractive city for talent, business, and investment.
Gonzalo Rodés, President of GBS Finanzas Catalunya and elected Vice President of the Barcelona Global Association, gave a great breakdown of the survey’s results and underlined the importance of tracking our progress in these critical areas in need of improvement. To bring in the international perspective, four testimonials were delivered by international professionals living and working in Barcelona: Bill Lehner (researcher at Centro de Regulación Genómica, CRG), Paul Sevin (Vice-Presidente of SEAT), Sebastian Walburg (Inverstor and entrepreneur), and Fabrizio Ferraro (professor at IESE Business School). The ceremony also featured presentations by Mateu Hernández, Director General of Barcelona Global, Emilio Cuatrecasas President and Barcelona Global Chairman, and Mayor Xavier Trias who described Barcelona Global as the best example of signifying the importance of welcoming expats to help Barcelona grow.
What was very interesting about the presentation itself was that the speakers switched between speaking in English, Spanish, and Catalan placing equal levels of importance on each language and highlighting the need for unity as one group with the same objective:
All in all, the event gave this expat confidence in the determination showcased at last night’s soiree and reinforced the message that Catalans and the international community are committed to work together to improve the drawbacks that can hinder innovation and growth. Barcelona Global represents a turning point for the city of Barcelona. A moment where the “Barcelonians by Birth” and “Barcelonians by Choice” join forces to take action and invest the necessary resources to position Barcelona as the most competitive global city in the world. Now there’s only one thing left to do…
Fem Que Passi! ¡Manos A La Obra! Let’s Get Moving!
For the entire International Professional Talent Monitor 2013 survey results, click here