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5 Charts: Waterloo vs. Philadelphia

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

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. 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, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Phoenix and are now ready to take on Philadelphia.

Let’s take a look!

This is part of a Waterloo EDC series called “5 Charts: Waterloo Versus” that compares our community with some of American’s top tech hubs, including Austin, TexasPhoenix, ArizonaColumbus, OhioSalt Lake City, UtahDetroit, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Matchup #2: Waterloo, Canada vs. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Despite differences in scale, Waterloo and Philadelphia make an interesting comparison. We’re both home to globally ranked universities known for excellence in computer science and each community is known for its thriving startup culture.  

Quick Facts:

Philadelphia Quick Facts Chart

*Includes specialty Arts and Music institutions

**From CBRE North American Scoring Tech Talent Report

Round One: Tech Talent Density

Waterloo/Philadelphia share of high tech employment

SOURCES: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent, 2019 
Statistics Canada LFS (NOCS), 2019; US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Metro) April 2019

Waterloo continues to lead in tech talent density, with a higher concentration of tech talent than Austin, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Columbus, Phoenix and now Philadelphia.

The talent conversation starts with the University of Waterloo – Canada’s top tech school – but also a flourishing tech ecosystem that includes giants like Google and SAP, unicorn scale-ups like Faire, ApplyBoard and Arctic Wolf, as well as hundreds of startups.

Canada’s business-friendly immigration programs help Waterloo companies attract and retain global talent.

Round Two: Engineering and Computer Science University Program Sizes

Waterloo/Philadelphia tech student population - Enrollment in Computer Science and Engineering

SOURCES: The University of Waterloo, University of Pennsylvania

UWaterloo wins this battle.

When we look at the top tech schools in both cities, UPenn was ranked #84 in the world for engineering and technology while UWaterloo came in at #38.

UWaterloo also boasts an extremely high employability rate, with 93% of computer science and 91.8% of engineering students employed after just 6 months of graduation.

Being a globally competitive tech university with the #1 computer science, engineering and mathematics programs in Canada, UWaterloo is also ranked top-150 in the QS World University Overall Rankings, which grades institutions on reputation, teaching, research and global outreach across all disciplines.

Not convinced yet? Check out these 5 facts about UWaterloo that will change your mind.

Round Three: Research Output

Waterloo/Philadelphia research output comparison per 100,00 people - Waterloo is at 1,354 citations and Philadelphia is at 138

SOURCE: InCites Dataset; Emerging Sources Citation Index (2016)

Waterloo knocks it out of the park here. Being home to a number of top research centres and business incubators, it’s no surprise that Waterloo takes a strong lead.

Round Four: Rent

Commercial Rent - Waterloo/Philadelphia - both $2 million

SOURCE: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent in North America (2018), Scoring Tech Talent (2018)

In terms of rent, Waterloo offers significantly better value for workspaces compared to Philadelphia. In Waterloo, you can find the workspace of your dreams at a fair rate, and you won’t have to worry about sacrificing access to talent or market access.

Wondering about how to find the right workspace for your business’ needs? We outlined some important factors to consider here.

Round Five: Tech Salaries

Tech Salaries Waterloo/Philadelphia - Median 5-Year Experience

SOURCE: ERI Salary Assessor (2019)

It’s a win for Waterloo here, too. Quality of tech talent and significant cost advantages are central to Waterloo’s value proposition. So much so that CBRE’s 2020 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent ranked Waterloo 1st in Canada for tech talent quality to cost.

With our lower housing and healthcare costs compared to America’s biggest tech hubs, you’ll get a bang for your buck in Canada’s fastest-growing community.

Waterloo has significant advantages in talent, research productivity and cost compared to Philadelphia. Yes, we are proud of our community, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Like data? There’s more where this came from!

Connect with us today to learn more.