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Toronto Ranked One of the Top Three North American Markets for Tech Talent

"We hear about tech more and more, but in a thriving city like Toronto, the impact of tech companies and the growing influence of tech talent cannot be overstated." CBRE just released its 2019 Scoring Tech Talent Report, placing #Toronto at no.3 in the top North American markets for tech talent. Among the top three are San Francisco #BayArea and #Seattle but Toronto's tech talent pool grew the FASTEST out of all markets measured, adding 80,100 tech jobs over the past 5 years, a 54% increase.

By Caitlin Hotchkiss, July 22, 2019

In a new report released by CBRE, Toronto rose in rankings to become one of the top three markets in North America for tech talent. The 2019 Scoring Tech Talent Report showed the city’s improvement from its ranking last year, where it placed fourth. Total tech occupations in Toronto grew 54 percent from 2013 to 2018 with 228,500 people employed in 2018.

“The impact of tech companies and the growing influence of tech talent cannot be understated.”

“We hear about tech more and more, but in a thriving city like Toronto, the impact of tech companies and the growing influence of tech talent cannot be understated. Tech job growth has a multiplier effect in the economy and the influence of tech is re-shaping virtually every sector of real estate,” said CBRE Canada’s vice chairman Paul Morassutti.

For 2019, Toronto entered the top three by edging out Washington, DC, which dropped one spot. Notably, few markets shifted positions compared to the previous year, with six of the top 10 markets retaining the same rankings.

Along with Toronto, other cities with the largest gains in tech talent were San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Charlotte. However, the report notes that major gateway markets such as New York, Toronto, and the San Francisco Bay Area dominate overall tech talent growth because of their size. These markets, along with others that have a tech talent labor pool of more than 50,000 workers, are categorized as “large,” while those below this threshold are categorized as “small.”

Average tech talent wages in the two cities ranked ahead of Toronto – San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle – were approximately $32.5 million and $29.5 million (at an average wage for 250 people), while Toronto’s wages topped out at nearly half of that, close to $16 million.

Toronto was also found to be in the top five most concentrated tech markets, rounded out by Seattle, and Washington, DC as well. In the cities, tech jobs range from 7.9 percent to 8.3 percent of their total employment. According to the report, top tech talent occupations in Toronto include software developers and programmers at a 79.6 percent growth, computer support, database & systems at 77.3 percent, and computer and information systems managers at 44.8 percent. The tech talent diversity in Toronto remains at an uneven split of 76 percent male versus 24 percent female.

The report also contained a section on “Top Regional Company Universities” where the University of Waterloo was credited with having created 314 companies and with $7.4 billion in capital raised, and the University of Toronto with 285 companies and $6.6 billion. The number of tech degrees completed in Toronto reached 37.8 percent growth from 2012 to 2017, and could be a likely contributor to the fact that Toronto did not appear to suffer the same “brain drain” as other cities – in fact, it added 57,634 more jobs than graduates between 2013 and 2018, greater than the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

Other Canadian cities that made the list include Vancouver, which rose the most in the rankings along with various other US cities. From 2013 to 2018, Vancouver had 42.6 percent growth in total tech occupations, with its highest being software developers and programmers. Montreal had more growth in total non-tech occupations (12. percent against 11.4 percent), while Ottawa came in on a lower end for growth in both (6.5 percent growth for total tech occupations and 5.4 percent for non-tech).

Due in part to the strong US dollar, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa provide the best value when it comes to cost and quality, followed by Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Madison and Detroit.

Overall, six Canadian cities made the top 25 list. The report named Hamilton, Waterloo (previously named Canada’s fastest growing tech talent market in CBRE’s 2017 Scoring Tech Talent Report), Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg, and Calgary in their list of 25 up-and-coming markets.

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