North American Tech Talent Hubs Poised for Growth After Holding Steady Through Pandemic, According to CBRE's Annual 'Scoring Tech Talent' Report
Dallas – July 13, 2021 – North American tech-talent employment weathered the pandemic better than
most other professions due to demand for tech to facilitate continued remote work, robust e-commerce
growth and streaming services. This resilience is setting the stage for strong tech job growth amid the
economic recovery across established tech capitals like the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Toronto
and emerging hubs such as Dayton, Huntsville and Colorado Springs, according to CBRE’s annual Scoring
Tech Talent report.
The report, now in its ninth year, ranks the top 50 North American markets by analyzing 13 measures of
their ability to attract and develop tech talent, including tech graduation rates, tech-job concentration, tech
labor pool size, labor and real estate costs, and for the first time, diversity ratios.
CBRE also ranks the Next 25 emerging tech markets on a narrower set of criteria. Tech talent is defined as
20 key tech professions -- such as software engineers and systems and data managers – across all
Tech occupations registered job growth of 0.8 percent in 2020 in the U.S. while non-tech occupations
declined by 5.5 percent. Software engineers were the most in demand tech-job category last year, adding
85,000 U.S. jobs for a 4.8 percent growth rate from a year earlier. Beyond the tech industry itself, those that
added tech workers last year include financial activities, professional & business services, and government.
“Many factors already are in place to fuel strong tech-talent job growth this year and beyond coming out of
the pandemic,” said Todd Husak, Managing Director of CBRE’s Tech & Media Practice Group. “Big tech
markets will gain from their established pipelines of tech graduates and many workers’ return to city
centers. Smaller markets will reap benefits from their cost advantages in labor and real estate as well as the
tech industry’s embrace of remote work for certain employees.”
Demographics & Diversity
The report examines each market’s performance across numerous demographic metrics including tech-
degree completions (New York led with 20,576 in 2019), millennial population change (Seattle leads in
percentage growth since 2014), tech labor concentration (Ottawa prevails with 11.6% of its job base in tech-
talent professions) and net gain or loss of tech talent since 2015 (Toronto led with a gain of 54,762), among
CBRE added a new feature to this year’s report in analyzing the diversity of tech workforces and
identifying underrepresented populations to pursue and develop. Overall, U.S. tech talent professions are
predominantly White, Asian and male. Conversely, Hispanics, Blacks and women are underrepresented in
tech talent ranks. CBRE found the most diverse tech-talent labor pools for underrepresented races and
ethnicities compared with their local geographies are in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta and
Rochester, N.Y. The most diverse tech-talent markets for women are Washington, D.C., Sacramento,
Kansas City, Boston and Hartford.
“Progress continues to be slow in improving diversity within tech labor pools,” said Colin Yasukochi,
Executive Director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center and author of the Tech Talent report. “Increased hiring
for purely remote jobs stands to help employers broaden their recruitment of tech talent to include more
diverse populations in new markets.”
In the overall Top 50 rankings for tech talent, the San Francisco Bay Area held onto the No. 1 ranking for
the ninth consecutive year, followed by Seattle at No. 2 and Washington, D.C., at No. 3 in a swap of their
year-earlier spots. Rounding out the top 5 this year are Toronto and the New York City metro area,
respectively. The biggest climber in this year’s rankings is Greater Los Angeles/Orange County (No. 9),
which rose by eight spots due to strong tech talent workforce growth. Detroit (No. 25) and Calgary (No. 28)
each rose by six spots due to incremental scoring gains related to gains in tech-degree graduates and
forecasted tech job growth.
Top Overall North American Tech Markets
2021 Rank Market Score 2021 Rank Market Score
1 Bay Area 86.40 6 Boston 62.60
2 Seattle 73.16 7 Austin 58.87
3 Washington, DC 65.60 8 Atlanta 57.78
4 Toronto 64.78 9 LA/Orange Co. 57.62
5 New York Metro 63.44 10 Ottawa 57.34
Top Emerging North American Tech Markets
| 2021 Rank
|| 2021 Rank
|| Bay Area
|| Washington, DC
|| LA/Orange Co.
|| New York Metro
CBRE ranks its Next 25 up-and-coming markets based on a narrower range of nine metrics. Many of the Next 25 are concentrated in the Midwest and South. These markets could see additional tech-talent hiring as companies adopt fully remote work for some professions. To wit, 12 percent of job postings from tech employers in the 12 months ended in February allowed for remote-work arrangements, up from 5 percent in the previous year, according to labor-analytics firm EMSI.
|| Tech Talent Total (2020)
| Tech Talent Growth (5 yrs)
|| Tech Talent Total (2020)
| Tech Talent Growth (5 yrs)
|| Colo. Springs
|| Des Moines
|| London, Ontario
For the second year, CBRE studied Latin American tech-talent markets to produce a list of the top 10, led
by Sao Paolo, Brazil; Mexico City; and Santiago, Chile.
Real Estate Considerations
CBRE examined real estate costs and wages across markets to identify the most affordable, most
expensive and the best bargains for cost vs. labor quality. The most expensive market in the top 50 for a
500-person tech company leasing 75,000 sq. ft. is the San Francisco Bay Area at nearly $69 million a year
in combined labor and real estate costs. The least expensive in the top 50 is the Waterloo region in Ontario,
Canada, at $31.4 million a year.
For office asking rents, the most expensive market in the top 50 is New York at $77.25 per sq. ft. per year.
The least expensive: Cleveland at $18.70. Just as telling for tech employers is the ratio of a market’s
average annual apartment rent as a percentage of its average tech wage. New York (26.3 percent) and Los
Angeles/Orange County (24.2 percent) are most expensive while Quebec City (12.3 percent) and Cleveland
(12.7 percent) are the least.
To download the report, click here.
About CBRE Group, Inc.
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