Vancouver's tech talent moves up to 8th best in North America: report

Jul 16 2022, 4:26 am

For another consecutive year, Vancouver’s tech talent ecosystem has moved up in CBRE’s high-profile annual ranking of North America’s 50 tech markets.

Vancouver is now ranked eighth in North America — up from 28th in 2018, 12th in 2019 and 2020, and 11th in 2021. For the 2022 ranking, Vancouver is just behind Boston and ahead of Dallas/Fort Worth.

CBRE’s ranking is based on 13 metrics that measure each market’s depth, vitality, and attractiveness to companies seeking tech talent and to tech workers seeking employment. This includes tech concentration signifying the clustering of tech workers, labour costs, and office rents. The data used for the 2020 ranking is based on 2021 data.

San Francisco tops CBRE’s list, followed by Seattle and Toronto, which moved up one spot compared to the 2021 ranking.

The tech talent scorecard ranking by CBRE pegs Vancouver at 62.19 points, which is only 0.19 behind Boston, 3.00 behind Austin, 4.89 behind New York City, 5.69 behind Washington DC, and 6.74 behind Toronto.

For the period between 2016 (the year CBRE began its tech market analysis) and 2021, Vancouver had the highest percentage growth of the number of tech employees out of the 50 cities — growing by 63%. This is followed by Toronto at 44% and Quebec City at 43%.

In real growth numbers, Toronto had the most tech job growth of 88,900 workers, followed by Seattle with 45,560 and Vancouver with 44,460.

In terms of actual total labour market size, Vancouver ranks 14th with 115,400 tech jobs in 2021 — just behind Denver’s 117,620 jobs, tied with Philadelphia, and just ahead of Minneapolis/St. Paul’s 100,990 jobs.

Vancouver’s largest tech occupation is software developers and programmers with 52,600 workers, representing an 86% five-year growth. Over the same period, the average wages in this occupation have grown by 24.4% to $97,885.

This is followed by computer support, database, and systems with 42,600 jobs, technology engineering-related with 12,400 jobs, and computer and information systems mangers with 7,800 jobs. Overall average tech wages across all Vancouver tech occupations went up by 17% over the five-year period.

The biggest tech ecosystems are San Francisco Bay Area with 378,870 jobs, New York City with 344,520, Toronto with 289,700, Washington DC with 259,310, Los Angeles with 235,800, and Seattle with 189,570.

Montreal’s market has 148,900 tech jobs, ranking it at 10th in terms of real size, and representing a 27% growth from 2016 to 2021. It ranks 15th in terms of tech talent overall.

Calgary and Edmonton rank 28th and 35th, respectively, for tech talent. Between 2016 and 2021, Calgary saw its tech workforce size grow by 22% or 7,400 to a total of 40,600 jobs, while Edmonton went up by 40% or 9,200 to a total of 32,400 jobs.

In terms of a tech firm’s cost of setting up a large presence in a city, all eight Canadian cities have the lowest costs of all 50 North American cities analyzed due in part to exchange rates. Vancouver ranks fifth for lowest cost — ahead of Waterloo, Ottawa, and Calgary, but behind Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Top 50 North American cities for tech talent in 2022: CBRE

  1. San Francisco Bay Area
  2. Seattle
  3. Toronto
  4. Washington DC
  5. New York City
  6. Austin
  7. Boston
  8. Vancouver
  9. Dallas/Fort Worth
  10. Denver
  11. Atlanta
  12. Los Angeles
  13. Ottawa
  14. Baltimore
  15. Montreal
  16. Phoenix
  17. San Diego
  18. Salt Lake City
  19. Raleigh-Durham
  20. Chicago
  21. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  22. Philadelphia
  23. Portland
  24. Waterloo
  25. Detroit
  26. Pittsburgh
  27. Charlotte
  28. Calgary
  29. Orlando
  30. Madison
  31. Columbus
  32. Kansas City
  33. South Florida
  34. Tampa
  35. Edmonton
  36. Houston
  37. Indianapolis
  38. St. Louis
  39. Quebec City
  40. Sacramento
  41. Nashville
  42. Cleveland
  43. Cincinnati
  44. Hartford
  45. Milwaukee
  46. Jacksonville
  47. San Antonio
  48. Virginia Beach
  49. Richmond
  50. Inland Empire
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