Business Monday

CEOs: Brain drain ebbing, but housing costs a problem

Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines
Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines

“Florida has many qualified people, but they don’t seem to stay here. Our experience is that it is difficult to find qualified, skilled people for decision-making roles in our company and almost always must recruit from out of state.” — Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines

“Many people who leave would prefer to live in Miami but cannot find a job that suits their skill level.” — Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO, Codina Partners

“South Florida has a net surplus of talent, and it’s up to the companies here to establish strong ties with the local schools to showcase the exciting opportunities locally — if we don’t, our best and brightest will leave.” — Daniel Cane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine

“I would now contend that our region has made significant progress toward retaining its talent — as well as attracting new talent from other areas of the country and the world.” — Marcell D. Haywood, CEO, Dirt Pros

“Density of good-quality talent is one of our biggest bottlenecks to growth. We have had to ‘import’ two of our most recent hires from out of state.” — Jose Li, CEO, 71 lbs

“We see a large number of young talent that wants to come to Miami now.” — Steve Owens, president, Swire Properties

“It depends on the field, but what is going to continue to be one of the biggest factors is South Florida’s shortage of affordable housing.”Lauren ‘Lolo’ Reskin, owner, Sweat Records

“Market conditions foster brain drain. Both Houston/Dallas and Atlanta have more-diversified service and industrial sectors — contributing to this situation.” — Mark Rosenberg, president, Florida International University

“I have seen a growing number of educated workers returning and relocating to our region in recent years.” — John Sumberg, managing partner, Bilzin Sumberg

Question posed to South Florida CEO’s

On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (major), how much of a problem is “brain-drain” of younger workers from South Florida?


Average score


Score 7 and above


Score 4 to 6

29 %

Score 3 or below

Based on a survey of 21 CEO Roundtable members