Toronto and Montréal added the most tech jobs in Canada in the last five years: Report

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Ottawa’s tech talent concentration is higher than San Francisco’s Bay Area, CBRE says.

Within Canada, Toronto and Montréal added the most tech talent jobs between 2017 and 2022, according to CBRE’s latest Scoring Tech Talent report.

American commercial real-estate firm CBRE has released its Scoring Tech Talent report for 2023, which analyzes labour market conditions, cost, and quality in North America for “highly skilled” tech workers.

Canada’s tech talent workforce grew by 15.7 percent, or 150,000 people, since 2020, CBRE says.

CBRE’s definition of “highly skilled tech workers” comprises over 20 occupations that “ensure the functionality” of the tech ecosystem, ranging from software developers to data managers.

In the five-year period, CBRE’s report found that Toronto added 63,800 tech jobs, while Montréal added 51,500. Overall, Canadian cities saw the highest tech job growth rates, which were Vancouver (69 percent), Calgary (61 percent), the Waterloo region (52 percent), and Edmonton (45 percent), which ties with Madison, Wis.

Though the past two years have been marked by an economic downturn that has resulted in layoffs and company shutdowns, demand for tech talent continues to increase in some corners of the tech sector and in other industries, such as finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE).

Canada saw over 32,000 tech workers migrate to the country last year, according to a separate report from the Technology Councils of North America and Canada’s Tech Network. Additionally, the report found that Canada “largely” benefits from investment of American tech companies as they expand or relocate to Canada.

In June, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new measure, allowing those who hold a US H-1B specialty occupation visa to apply to work and live in Canada. As of this week, the cap of 10,000 applications has been reached after two days of the application being open.

Though Canada has fewer tech workers overall, CBRE’s report shows Canada’s tech talent concentration competes with its counterparts south of the border.

CBRE’s report found that the number of tech talent workers in the US has increased by 11.4 percent, or 610,000, since 2020. In comparison, Canada’s tech talent workforce grew by 15.7 percent, or 150,000 people.

The report also illustrated the emerging tech talent concentration in Canada, with three of the top five North American cities in this category located in Canada: Ottawa, Waterloo, and Toronto.

According to CBRE, tech talent makes up 13.3 percent of total employment in Ottawa, just slightly higher than the 11.6 percent concentration in the San Francisco Bay Area. To compare, Ottawa has a population of about 1 million, while the Bay Area has 7.5 million people.

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The Waterloo region has tech talent concentration of 10.1 percent, while Toronto and Seattle tie at 9.5 percent, rounding out the top five most concentrated tech markets in North America.

Notably, the Waterloo region is among the highest ranking cities in terms of small tech-talent markets (defined by a tech workforce of fewer than 50,000). It ranked second, with 29,700 people in tech roles, with 50 percent of those workers in the tech sector and 14.8 percent in FIRE industries. The remainder are pursuing tech roles in other fields, such as health care, the public service, and small businesses.

Vancouver is the top Canadian city among the large tech-talent markets, ranking at fourth place overall. It recorded a tech talent workforce of 111,100, with over half (53.9 percent) of those people working in the tech industry.

Toronto recorded 285,700 tech talent workers, with 43.2 percent of those employees in tech and 20 percent in FIRE industries.

Featured image courtesy Unsplash.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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