2.25 minute read time
July 20, 2021

Canadian cities continued to make big strides in growing and nurturing tech talent despite the pandemic upheaval. CBRE's 2021 North American Scoring Tech Talent ranking shows that from Halifax to Victoria, Canada is emerging from the pandemic with economic strength thanks in part to a strong tech sector.

Eight Canadian centres made the list of Top 50 Tech Talent markets, with teeming tech hub Toronto holding onto its #4 spot. Toronto tops the list when it comes to brain gain, adding 81,200 jobs over the past five years while producing 26,338 tech degrees in the same period, for a net gain of 54,862 tech jobs.

Ottawa came in at #10 on the list of top Tech Talent markets, moving up an impressive four spots from last year, while Vancouver moved up one spot to #11, Montreal held steady at #16 and Calgary jumped six spots to #28.

2021 Rank Market Score
     
1 SF Bay Area 86.40
2 Seattle 73.16
3 Washington, DC 65.60
4 Toronto 64.78
5 New York Metro 63.44
6 Boston 62.60
7 Austin 59.89
8 Atlanta 57.78
9 LA/Orange Co 57.62
10 Ottawa 57.34

“The past year underscored Canada’s status as a leading destination for employers seeking tech talent,” said CBRE Canada Vice Chairman Paul Morassutti. “We’ve all come to appreciate the vital role that tech plays in our lives, especially during the pandemic, but it’s also a key driver of the Canadian economy and securing tech talent has never been more essential.”

Elsewhere in the Top 5, Seattle (#2) and Washington, DC (#3) swapped spots while the San Francisco Bay Area remained secure in the #1 spot; Toronto came out ahead of New York City (#5) and Boston (#6).

The report offers compelling evidence that tech-talent employment in North America weathered the pandemic better than most other professions, particularly in Canada, where tech jobs increased in six of the country’s eight major markets over the past year by an average of 16%

Three Canadian markets make inaugural appearances in this year’s ranking: Waterloo Region, with 47% growth in tech talent employment since 2015, debuts at #21; Quebec City at #34; and Edmonton, North America’s fastest-growing tech market over the past five years, at #38.

Among the Top 10 “most tech” markets in North America by labour concentration, six are Canadian. Ottawa is the highest ranked market in North America for tech employment concentration, with tech jobs making up 11.6% of total jobs there. Toronto and Waterloo Region are right behind at third and fourth, with Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City ranking seventh through ninth, respectively.

Canadian tech centres also offer big cost savings versus U.S. counterparts, making up the Top 8 most affordable tech talent markets in the ranking based on the combined cost of labour and real estate.

Bottom line: the future of tech talent is alive and well in Canada, which is nice to know after the year and a half we’ve had.

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