3 minute read time
August 10, 2020

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Canada boasts several of North America’s fastest-growing tech talent markets, but historically is known for resource extraction. For cities hoping to make that transition from natural resources to tech, there’s good news in CBRE’s new Scoring Tech Talent report.

Alberta, known for energy production, is hoping to diversify its economy and two cities are having some success. Calgary debuted on the tech talent ranking at No. 34, while Edmonton was included in the “Next 25” list of up-and-coming tech talent markets.

The province is just at the start of its tech talent growth journey. Let’s examine the factors at play.

Calgary, Alberta skyline with Saddledome

Calgary’s Debut at No. 34

With an impressive 17.1% rate of tech job growth from 2014 to 2019, Calgary has more than earned its No. 34 spot on the North American tech talent ranking.

The city has 42,500 tech jobs as of 2019, and an average tech worker wage of $95,222.

“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 CBRE Managing Director Greg Kwong. “This data offers us reasons for optimism and encourages us to continue to lure tech companies and skilled workers to the city.”

One thing that could lure those workers? An average apartment rent of just $1,181 per month. Calgary was one of only two markets ranked that have not seen a rent increase in the past year.

Edmonton’s Up-and-Coming Status

Calgary isn’t the only Alberta city worth keeping an eye on. Edmonton boasted a 17.0% growth in tech talent over the past five years, with 25,200 tech jobs as of 2019.

With an average salary of just $88,885, the city is an affordable option for companies looking for top talent with a low-price tag.

CBRE Edmonton Managing Director Dave Young points to the area’s post-secondary institutions as a source of local tech talent, with 1,000 tech-based degrees awarded in the last year.

“There’s a world-class university right across the river from the downtown market that has some of the best research on the planet,” said Young. “I think it’s amazing that we’ve got these educational institutions that are able to provide research and development for various tenants within the tech ecosystem.”

Edmonton, Alberta skyline with Walterdale bridge

Canada’s Tech Talent

The Scoring Tech Talent report shows that Canada’s tech pool is growing, fast. The country has five markets in the Top 50, and another five on the “Next 25” list.

As other industries struggle to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19, Canada’s tech talent is positioned to weather the storm. More than ever, companies need the technical skill this talent offers, from streaming to remote communications.

“We expect that most tech-talent markets and professions will thrive after the pandemic subsides, and many that facilitate remote work, e-commerce, social media and streaming services many have even greater growth opportunities,” said CBRE’s Tech Insights Center Executive Director Colin Yasukochi.

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