Alberta cities lack tech talent of other major North American markets

Toronto ranked third, Vancouver 12th, Montreal 13th and Ottawa 19th in top-50 list: CBRE report

Mario ToneguzziAs Calgary and Edmonton try to establish a significant tech industry in Alberta, a report released on Thursday by commercial real estate firm CBRE indicates just how far behind Alberta is when it comes to tech talent.

Neither Alberta city made it to the top 50 list in North America for tech talent.

But both Edmonton and Calgary were listed in the report as being one of the top 25 next up and coming tech talent markets in North America. It found that Edmonton has experienced 26 per cent total tech growth in the past five years while Calgary had a decline of seven per cent.

Toronto was ranked third in North America, behind the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle in CBRE’s 2019 Scoring Tech Talent report.

“Toronto’s pool of tech talent grew at the fastest pace of all 50 markets measured, adding an eye-popping 80,100 tech jobs in the past five years, a 54 per cent increase. Toronto nearly equaled the number of tech jobs created in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013,” said CBRE.

Vancouver was ranked 12th, Montreal 13th and Ottawa 19th.

“Vancouver rose 13 spots to come in at No. 12, which was the greatest year-over-year improvement of any North American market. Vancouver benefited from tech-centric post-secondary schools such as the B.C. Institute of Technology and University of British Columbia,” said CBRE.

“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. 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 Paul Morassutti, CBRE Canada vice-chairman.

“Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle are comfortably mentioned in the same sentence and are attracting the best in the industry. Vancouver’s 42.6 per cent growth in tech jobs over the past five years puts it among the leading markets on the continent.”

CBRE said Hamilton and the Waterloo Region are identified in the TechTalent report as two of the fastest-growing “Opportunity Markets” in North America. Hamilton had a 52.1 per cent gain in the number tech jobs added over the past five years, while Waterloo Region had 40.4 per cent growth. 

“Opportunity Markets offer quality labour pools and affordability that supports rapid scalability,” said Morassutti. “These markets can be ideal for small-scale operations, startups and tech jobs with non-tech employers like banks, media and services firms.”

The scorecard uses 13 metrics to measure each market’s depth, vitality and attractiveness.

“Canada’s 832,900 tech workers, 5.3 per cent of the nation’s total workforce, have an outsize impact on real estate markets and the broader economy,” said Morassutti. “Tech talent workers are fuelling innovation and adapting technology within the non-traditional sectors to increase productivity and strengthen the Canadian economy.”

© Calgary’s Business

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