Vancouver ranked world's seventh best city for tech, with education a key strength

Jan 29 2022, 1:02 am

Of the 30 global cities evaluated for their tech savviness, Vancouver comes amongst the top of the pack, in large part due to the role that its tech-friendly post-secondary institutions play.

A new report by British financial comparison website ranks Vancouver as the seventh overall best city for tech, based on factors such as tech job earnings, the number of successful startups, and the availability of tech-related degrees offered by its post-secondary schools.

Other factors include the median IT salary, estimated annual cost of living, estimated disposable income for tech employees, average internet speed, the number of unicorn companies (startups with a value of $1 billion) per 100,000 people, and the number of startups per 100,000 people.

Vancouver ranks just behind Seattle and San Francisco but comes ahead of Los Angeles, Stockholm, and Dallas. Only one other Canadian city made it to the ranking; Toronto is ranked 15th overall.

Vancouver’s placement is partially propelled by having the best average university engineering and technology score.

“It’s not just potential employment in the tech sector that might draw people to a particular city, but also education,” reads the report.

“Looking at the universities highlighted by QS World University Rankings for their tech degrees, the city with the highest average score is Vancouver, which is home to the University of British Columbia.”

Vancouver also has one of the highest median IT salaries — US$101,293. It is just one of seven cities to have a top median tech salary range of between US$100,000 and US$122,000, joining New York City, Washington, DC, Denver, Boston, Los Angeles, and Dallas.

In contrast, the median IT salary in Toronto is US$98,900, San Francisco is US$98,600, and Seattle is US$92,500.

Both Canadian cities are amongst the top cities for the factor of disposable income for IT workers, with Vancouver at US$64,050 and Toronto at US$63,584. Both are in the middle of the pack when it comes to the cost of living.

Vancouver and Toronto have a similar number of startup companies per 100,000 people, with 21 and 23 companies, respectively. In comparison, San Francisco has 557, Washington, DC has 146, Boston has 135, Seattle has 96, Denver has 56, London has 48, Dallas has 28, Berlin has 33, Melbourne has seven, and Sydney has 16.

For unicorn companies per 100,000 people, San Francisco comes up at the top with 14.94, followed by Boston at 2.01, New York City at 1.0, Seattle at 0.9, Denver at 0.67, and Washington, DC at 0.56.

Vancouver has 0.19 unicorn companies per 100,000 people, exceeding Singapore’s ratio of 0.18, Toronto’s ratio of 0.08, Paris’ ratio of 0.14, and Melbourne and Sydney’s same ratio of 0.02.

In 2021, CBRE ranked Vancouver as having the 11th best tech talent in North America.

The CBRE also accounted for the role post-secondary institutions play in Vancouver’s tech ecosystem. Post-secondary institutions in Vancouver issued 12,944 tech degrees between 2015 and 2019, and 24,200 tech jobs were added in the city from 2016 to 2020, which represents a net “brain gain” of 11,256 tech workers — from both homegrown and locally educated talent and those who moved to the city in search of opportunities.

There are now 91,200 tech employees in Vancouver, representing a 36% increase over the past five years and growing to a share of 8% of all jobs in the city.

Much of the city’s current momentum is driven by Amazon’s big expansion in downtown Vancouver.

The world’s most tech-savvy cities

  1. Denver
  2. Washington, DC
  3. New York City
  4. Boston
  5. Seattle
  6. San Francisco
  7. Vancouver
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Stockholm
  10. Dallas
  11. London
  12. Berlin
  13. Amsterdam
  14. Singapore
  15. Toronto
  16. Copenhagen
  17. Munich
  18. Tokyo
  19. Dublin
  20. Melbourne
  21. Sydney
  22. Hong Kong
  23. Seoul
  24. Barcelona
  25. Beijing
  26. Paris
  27. Shanghai
  28. Taipei
  29. Cape Town
  30. Bogota

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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