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Waterloo: A Rising Star for Tech Talent

Waterloo is climbing the list of North America's top talent markets. Learn what factors are contributing to our region's continued growth.

Waterloo is North America’s #1 small tech talent market. It’s also one of the fastest-rising regions in the industry, according to the latest Scoring Tech Talent report from CBRE.

Leaping six positions from last year, Waterloo Region now proudly stands at #18 on the overall list.

With such an impressive leap, it’s no surprise that Waterloo continues to show up on business expansion shortlists. Combining big-city benefits with small community charm, Waterloo has the talent and ecosystem that businesses need to grow.

Each year, CBRE ranks the top 50 tech talent markets in North America based on various metrics like talent concentration, labour costs and workforce diversity. The list includes both large markets – with over 50,000 tech workers – and small markets, like Waterloo, that have fewer than 50,000.

Waterloo joins Calgary and St. Louis in the top three fastest-rising markets on this year’s list.

Why Waterloo is on the rise

Waterloo’s growth is powered by an increasing number of young professionals who are taking advantage of the quality of life and employment opportunities in Waterloo, not to mention the caliber of our existing tech ecosystem and workforce.

The report highlights several factors contributing to Waterloo’s rise:

  • Job growth: Between 2017 and 2022, Waterloo had the third-highest tech job growth rate at 52%. It helps that our tech ecosystem is booming, with giants like Google, OpenText, SAP and EPAM Systems operating here.
  • Demographics: The region tops the charts in growth rates for residents in their 20s and 30s, with 21.3% and 17.2% increases, respectively. Our stellar post-secondary institutions and excellent quality of life are significant draws.
  • Talent concentration: With tech workers making up 10.1% of Waterloo’s total employment, Waterloo ranks as the most concentrated among small markets and sits in the top five overall. The talent pool deepens with nearly 5,000 students enrolled in computer science and computer engineering programs at the University of Waterloo.

Top 25 overall markets

Waterloo’s status as a rising city only adds to our reputation as a dynamic, fast-growing hub with world-class talent, global brands, innovation outposts and thriving startups.

Not only do we consistently outshine larger markets, but we are also the only small tech talent market ranked in the overall top 25, as displayed below.

  1. San Francisco Bay Area
  2. Seattle
  3. New York Metro
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Toronto
  6. Austin
  7. Boston
  8. Vancouver
  9. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  10. Denver
  11. Ottawa
  12. Montreal
  13. Atlanta
  14. Los Angeles/Orange County
  15. Phoenix
  16. Salt Lake City
  17. Baltimore
  18. Waterloo Region
  19. Raleigh-Durham
  20. San Diego
  21. Calgary
  22. Philadelphia
  23. Chicago
  24. Portland
  25. Madison

Moving up the leaderboard

With our first-place ranking in the small tech talent market category and six-spot leap up the overall rankings, Waterloo is poised to continue rising to the top.

Interestingly, Waterloo has never been ranked anything but #1 on the small markets list. Ever since we entered the list three years ago, we’ve held the top spot.

Read all the details by downloading the full report here.

Your top talent awaits

If the prospect of expanding to North America’s top small tech talent market piques your interest, get in touch with our team today.