Calgary has made its debut in commercial real estate firm CBRE’s North American Tech Talent ranking with tech employment increasing by 17.1 per cent in the last five years thanks to “low costs and plentiful labour.”
The report ranks 50 North American markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent.
“This is good news. Period. Calgary constantly talks about diversifying its economy and we’ve proven our ability to compete with world leading cities in the all-important tech sector,” said Greg Kwong, Managing Director for CBRE in Alberta. “Calgary has faced no shortage of economic challenges of late, but this data offers us reasons for optimism and encourages us to continue to lure tech companies and skilled workers to the city.”
The report said Calgary led other energy markets in the No. 34 position, ahead of Houston (36) and San Antonio (47). Meanwhile, Edmonton was named a ‘Next 25’ up-and-coming tech talent market, taking No. 9 on that list.
“Calgary earned a spot in this year’s ranking owing to the pace of growth of its tech employment, which increased 17.1 per cent between 2014 and 2019, bringing the city’s total tech labour pool to 42,500 workers,” said the CBRE report. “Calgary is also affordable for tech firms. While it has the highest costs of all Canadian markets in the list, the city remains cheaper than any U.S. market in the Top 50, costing C$46.5 million for a 500-person tech company leasing 75,000 sq. ft. of office space.
“Calgary’s labour force pipeline is also plentiful and pumping out talent, with 775 tech degrees completed locally in 2018 and 26.8 per cent growth in degrees earned between 2014 and 2018.”
The top five markets for tech talent in 2020 were the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, Seattle, Toronto, and New York, all markets with a tech labour pool of more than 50,000. Vancouver is ranked 12th.
The Next 25 up-and-coming markets was headed by the Waterloo Region followed by Huntsville (Alabama), Omaha, Colorado Springs and Dayton.
Quebec City was sixth, Edmonton ninth and Halifax 12th.
CBRE said its Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 unique metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.
“We expect that most tech-talent hubs and professions will thrive after the pandemic subsides, and many that facilitate remote work, ecommerce, social media and streaming services may have even greater growth opportunities accelerated by the COVID-19 disruption,” said Colin Yasukochi, Executive Director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center. “Markets that have strong innovation infrastructure – leading universities and high concentrations of tech jobs — will lead the next growth cycle.”