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5 Charts: Waterloo vs. Columbus

5 charts that compare Waterloo's technology ecosystem - talent, real estate costs, research and more - to Columbus, Ohio.

We often compare Waterloo’s exceptional tech credentials to other major cities in Canada like Toronto and Montreal, and major US tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York, where the vast majority of tech investment has traditionally landed.

What we haven’t really dug into – until now – is how our ecosystem stacks up against smaller US tech markets that are showing undeniable momentum, like Columbus, Phoenix and Austin. We’ve scoured our data and are going head-to-head with tech markets across the United States.

We’ve already stepped into the ring with Austin and Pittsburgh and are now ready to take on Columbus.

You guessed it – the friendly competition continues!

Editor’s Note: This is part of a Waterloo EDC series called “5 Charts: Waterloo Versus” that compares our community with some of America’s top tech hubs, including Austin, TexasPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPhoenix, ArizonaColumbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah and Detroit, Michigan.

Matchup #3: Waterloo, Canada vs. Columbus, Ohio

Waterloo and Columbus’ similarities make for a good matchup. We both have booming start-up activity that has attracted a steady growth in venture capital investment, talent coming out of a globally ranked institution and a collaborative tech environment.

Quick Facts:

*CBRE Scoring Tech Talent, 2023

Round One: Tech Talent Density

SOURCE: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent, 2024

With regards to high tech density, Waterloo beats not only Columbus, but also other tech hubs like Austin, Pittsburgh and Denver – in fact, we were just named the #1 small tech talent market in North America for the third year in a row.

How, you ask? There are a few factors in play that contribute to this impressive density.

With Waterloo’s unmatched ecosystem, talent, research assets and location, the region has become the largest robotics and automation cluster in Canada, propelling it as a leader in global tech.

Round Two: Engineering and Computer Science University Program Sizes

SOURCES: The University of Waterloo, Ohio State University

UWaterloo is a powerhouse. It ranks globally with US schools like Ohio State, Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Stanford – it’s ranked top-40 for engineering and technology and top-25 for computer science – but comes out ahead for tech program sizes when matched up against these schools.

This scale comes at no compromise to talent. Check out these 5 facts about the university that will have you doing a double take. With cutting edge programming opportunities and leading co-op experiences, it’s no wonder that Waterloo can compete with the best and biggest.

Round Three: Research Output

SOURCE: QS University Rankings, 2024

Winner: Waterloo, again. Keep in mind that Ohio State’s College of Engineering is ranked #3 in the nation in industry research expenditures and is labelled a “Public Ivy” – meaning as a public school, it’s considered to be of Ivy League quality.

Waterloo coming out victorious says a lot about its research productivity. It continues to solidify our global reputation as we climb the way up the QS World University Rankings 2023, ascending 42 spots from the previous year.

Round Four: Rent

SOURCE: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent, 2024

A tie! Finding the perfect working space for your company at a reasonable price is no easy task. In Waterloo, you can find the workspace of your dreams at a fair rate, all without sacrificing access to talent or market access.

With our signature sites page, you can explore the wide variety of real estate options available in Waterloo. From manufacturing facilities to office space, Waterloo has it all.

Round Five: Tech Salaries

SOURCE: ERI Salary Assessor, 2024

Waterloo steals the show again! But don’t think that the quality of our talent is any less, our high-quality talent at a lower cost is a core aspect of Waterloo’s value proposition. So much so that CBRE announced that Waterloo was the #1 small tech talent market in 2023 for the third year in a row.

Waterloo has significant cost advantages in talent, research productivity and cost compared to Columbus. You can do more living for less money in one of Canada’s fastest growing communities.

Summarizing success

In the race between Waterloo and Columbus, Waterloo emerges as the clear winner across multiple key metrics. This success can be attributed to several factors, including the presence of one of Canada’s top technology schools, UWaterloo, business-friendly immigration programs and ability to maintain innovation and talent.

Let’s summarize the results of the matchup:

  1. Waterloo has a higher concentration of tech talent than Columbus.
  2. UWaterloo’s tech programs have much higher enrollment than Ohio State University.
  3. UWaterloo had more citations per faculty than Ohio State University.
  4. Waterloo and Columbus are tied for renting costs.
  5. On average, tech salaries are higher in Columbus than Waterloo.

For companies considering business expansion, Waterloo is a compelling and strategic choice, offering a winning combination of innovation, talent and economic advantages.

Like data?

There’s more where this came from! Learn more about Waterloo’s incredible tech ecosystem.