Evolving Workforces

2021 Scoring Tech Talent

Tech Talent Job Growth Shows Economic Importance During Pandemic

July 14, 2021 60 Minute Read


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Read the 2022 CBRE Tech Talent Report

Technology companies were some of the most resilient throughout COVID-19 and are now preparing for high-paced growth. In Scoring Tech Talent, CBRE explores what markets have the biggest tech talent pools—and what markets are seeing the biggest growth.

Tech talent workforce growth in 2020 slowed significantly from its 4.1% rate in 2019 yet emerged as one of the most resilient sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. But between migration trends and a new, fast-paced growth in 2021, the best tech talent job markets are changing—and it has implications for workforce and real estate decisions.

CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report is intended to serve as a resource for decision-making and success in building tech talent teams to fulfill critical business and innovation objectives in the years ahead.

Explore Tech Labor Markets

What's in the Report?

Scoring Tech Talent is a comprehensive analysis of labor market conditions, cost and quality in North America for highly skilled tech workers.

The top 50 markets in the U.S. and Canada are ranked according to their competitive advantages and appeal to both employers and tech talent employees. Twenty-five additional North American tech talent markets are also analyzed, as well as 10 up-and-coming Latin American markets.

Insights from our Expert Roundtable

Scoring Tech Talent: Workforce, Diversity and Hiring Trends

Our Expert Roundtable event on Sept. 16, 2021, highlighted key findings from the report and featured a panel discussion covering a wide range of topics, including tech talent acquisition strategies, building a diverse workforce at every stage of company growth, hybrid and remote work, location-based compensation, venture capital investing and more—plus what it all means for real estate markets.

Featured Speakers

Daniel Culbertson - Economist, Indeed

Iris Choi - Partner, Floodgate

Colin Yasukochi - Executive Director, CBRE Tech Insights Center


Todd Husak - Managing Director, CBRE Tech & Media Practice

The tech talent workforce is slowly becoming more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and sex. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to accelerate the process via expanded remote work and workforce analytics.

Strategic approaches to diverse team building can be enhanced by greater use of data and benchmarking analytics that identify where diverse talent is located and being developed. Our analysis details workforce race/ethnicity and sex by geography, industry and job classification; and college tech degree graduates’ race/ethnicity and sex by geography.

Diversity in Technology Employment

Tech talent across all industries remains predominantly White, Asian and male relative to total employment and office-using employment. The tech industry, which accounts for 40% of tech talent in the U.S., had demographics similar to tech talent across all industries.

Females in the Technology Industry

Females were significantly underrepresented within tech talent occupations across all industries. Within the tech industry, females were more underrepresented in tech occupations at 22% compared with 27% across all industries.

Diversity by Technology Occupation

Segmenting tech talent occupations across all industries in two broad categories showed that female workers were concentrated within Computer Support, Database & Systems occupations at 69%. The other 31% of female workers were Software Developers, Programmers & Engineers.

U.S. Workforce by Race/Ethnicity for Selected Industries (2019)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2021.
Note: Office-using industries include information, financial activities and professional & business services (excluding tech industry within these categories).

U.S. Workforce by Sex for Selected Industries (2019)
% Female of Total Workforce (Male and Female)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2021.
Note: Office-using industries include information, financial activities and professional & business services (excluding tech industry within these categories).

What Tech Markets are the Most and Least Diverse

For underrepresented race/ethnic groups, the most diverse tech talent markets were Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta and Rochester. The least diverse markets were San Antonio, Greater Los Angeles/Orange County, Austin, San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.

U.S. Tech Talent Occupation Category by Race/Ethnicity & Sex (2019)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2021.

Underrepresented Race/Ethnic Groups in U.S. Tech Talent Workforce by Market (2019)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2021.

For females, the most diverse tech talent markets were Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Kansas City, Boston and Hartford. The least diverse markets were Cleveland, South Florida, Richmond, Orlando and St. Louis.

Females in U.S. Tech Talent Workforce by Market (2019)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2021.

Tech Degree Graduate Diversity & Current Enrollment

The pipeline of recent tech degree graduates offers opportunities to build the next generation of talent—but at present, most recent tech graduates are White, Asian and male.

The U.S. has a future tech degree graduate pipeline of about 1 million, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and estimates by CBRE of students enrolled in bachelor’s or higher programs as of Fall 2020. While diversity breakdowns for these students was not available, trends suggest they will represent greater tech talent workforce diversity than exists today.

U.S. Tech Degree Graduates’ Race/Ethnicity & Sex (2019)

Source: IPEDS.
Note: Total tech degree graduates and sex breakdown includes U.S. resident and foreigners. Race/ethnicity breakdown excludes unknown races and foreigners.

Diversity in Technology: A Challenge & Opportunity

Greater diversity of the tech talent workforce has been slow to progress, but remains an opportunity for the industry—and one made potentially easier by the broader adoption of hybrid work following COVID-19.

Tech talent employers increased job postings that offer remote working arrangements to 12% for the 12 months ending in February 2021, up from only 5.5% in the previous 12-month period, according to EMSI data. This hybrid approach shows promise to expand tech talent recruitment across all markets and increase workforce diversity.


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