Ottawa, Calgary gain momentum in CBRE North American top tech talent report as Toronto falls one spot to fourth


Toronto has dropped one spot in the 2020 version of CBRE’s top tech talent markets in North America report. The city now sits within the top four markets in North America, down from third position last year.

“Toronto continues to be near the front of a very competitive pack.”

While Toronto did drop one spot, losing out to Washington, DC, CBRE noted that the Canadian city’s position in the top four North American markets for tech talent “reaffirms the city’s global status and future promise.”

“Online demand and the tech sector in general have gone into overdrive since the emergence of
COVID-19. This report points to the cities likely to benefit most from this activity and Toronto continues to be near the front of a very competitive pack,” said CBRE Canada vice chairman Paul Morassutti. “With Canada making headway in the effort to contain COVID-19 and U.S. visa changes likely to hurt tech talent attraction south of the border, the tech-mentum of Canadian cities is likely sustainable.”

RELATED: As Trump suspends H-1B visa, Canadian tech looks to attract foreign talent (again)

According to CBRE, Toronto added 66,900 tech jobs over the past five years, the second-most of any North American city, bested only by the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2018, CBRE reported that Toronto was North America’s fastest-growing tech market, having added more tech jobs in 2017 than the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC, combined,

The top five markets for tech talent for this year were: San Francisco Bay Area, Washington,
DC, Seattle, Toronto, and New York.

Of the Canadian cities that made the top 50 list, Ottawa saw the largest jump in rankings. The Nation’s Capital rose five positions to 14th. According to CBRE, Ottawa boasts the highest tech talent concentration, which is calculated by tech talent as a percentage of total industry occupations, of any North American city in the top 50.

Notably, Calgary made its first appearance on CBRE’s top 50 rankings, coming in at 34. CBRE called Calgary joining the list “a glimmer of hope for a more diversified economic future in Canada’s oil patch.” Vancouver retained its 12 position ranking, while Montreal dropped to 16th.

CBRE’s report also included a ranking of the ‘Next 25,’ a roundup of “up-and-coming markets” across North America. Topping that list was the Waterloo Region, with Quebec City and Edmonton also ranking within the top 10. Halifax also made the list, coming in at 12th, with Winnipeg at 22.

RELATED: Edmonton surges in CBRE Canadian tech talent report

CBRE defines tech talent as 20 tech-focused occupations found in all industry sectors, including
software developers, programmers, and computer, and information system managers. The organization ranks the top 50 markets by assessing 13 metrics on a weighted basis, including tech-talent supply, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, and real estate costs.

The report also included an analysis of the most expensive and affordable cities for tech talent, comparing real estate costs and wages to determine “the best bargains for cost vs. labour quality.”

According to CBRE, the least expensive city in the top 50 tech talent markets for a 500-person tech company leasing 75,000 sq. ft. was Montreal, followed by Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. The most expensive market is the San Francisco Bay Area.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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