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Waterloo is Top Growth Market for Young Tech Talent

Waterloo is a top choice for tech workers in their 20s and 30s according to CBRE. Learn what makes Waterloo an ideal place to grow a career and a business.

Waterloo has become a top destination for young tech professionals, where a vibrant tech scene and excellent quality of life make it an ideal place to stay and grow.

Our region is not only the #1 small tech talent market in North America. It’s also the top overall growth market for residents in their 20s, with a growth rate of 21.3%. Waterloo also ranks among the top markets for residents in their 30s, a close second only to Austin, Texas, with a growth rate of 17.2%.

These stand-out stats, as revealed in this year’s CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report, prove that Waterloo is bursting with bright young talent, and as one of the fastest-rising markets overall, it has become a leading expansion destination for businesses looking to grow.

The report evaluates the population of those in their 20s and 30s from 2016 to 2021 in tech markets across the continent. In the 20s category, Waterloo outpaces all tech talent markets, both large and small, by a significant margin of 9.8%.

In the 30s category, Waterloo is the only small tech talent market in the top-5, which comes as no surprise given that Waterloo ranks among North America’s top-5 most concentrated tech talent markets.

Top-5 Overall Growth Markets for Residents in their 20s

1. Waterloo, Canada (21.3%)

2. Salt Lake City, Utah (11.5%)

3. Toronto, Canada (11.1%)

4. Ottawa, Canada (10%)

5. Raleigh-Durham (8%)

Top-5 Overall Growth Markets for Residents in their 30s

1. Austin, Texas (19.5%)

2. Waterloo, Canada (17.2%)

3. Vancouver, Canada (16.4%)

4. Toronto, Canada (14.7%)

5. Ottawa, Canada (14.4%)

As you can see, Canadian cities are emerging as hotspots for tech talent. See how eight Canadian cities compare in population, growth and costs in our exclusive report.

Quantity AND quality

Your business can benefit from locating in a region with young talent. Those in their 30s are the largest demographic cohort in the workforce, while those in their 20s will fuel future growth. Tapping into the talent pool in Waterloo allows you to access young, capable talent while growing your business in a thriving ecosystem.

Plus, Waterloo offers more than just quantity when it comes to tech talent. Our region is home to some of the highest quality talent, too. CBRE reported that Waterloo provides the “best value when it comes to cost vs. quality of tech talent.”

The chart below illustrates how exceptional Waterloo’s tech talent is and how it delivers more value than virtually every other US market.

Tech Talent Quality

What attracts young talent to Waterloo?

We often tout our innovative startup ecosystem, local post-secondary institutions, big brands, research community and collaborative culture as reasons why our tech sector is thriving. And while those things are true, we wanted to highlight another reason behind our growth: our excellent quality of life.

Quality of life continues to be a key driver in Waterloo’s population growth. Young people living here love the outdoor amenities, flexible transportation options, diverse cultural offerings and proximity to Toronto.

Waterloo has beautiful parks and trails scattered throughout the region and a transportation system that includes the ION Light Rail Transit system and new e-Scooters connecting it all.

The region is also conveniently located just 105km/65mi (or about 1 hour) away from Toronto, making it easy to catch a professional sports game, visit a world-renowned museum and explore the big city without the price tag of permanently residing there.

Instead, young people are choosing to call Waterloo home. Our region is made up of three cities and four townships, each with its own distinct downtown cores and offerings.

Kitchener is a bustling urban centre teeming with opportunity. In the downtown core, there is vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine and family-friendly attractions like THEMUSEUM, the Kitchener Public Library and the Centre in the Square. Kitchener also hosts events like KW Oktoberfest and the Kitchener Blues Festival and is home to beautiful green spaces such as the Huron Natural Area.

Cambridge is an innovative powerhouse with cultural charm. It provides ample opportunity for nature lovers to get outside, with over 50 km of natural and urban trails along winding rivers. It is also home to the newly coined Gaslight District, the largest public square in the region, which boasts restaurants, event halls, weekly community events and more.

Waterloo is a tight-knit, vibrant community bustling with activity. Its downtown area, named “Uptown Waterloo,” is a central hub with a variety of restaurants, music venues and shopping locations. World-renowned spaces like the Clay & Glass Gallery and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics are also located here, both of which back onto the beautiful and expansive Waterloo Park.

The region’s four townships – Woolwich, Wilmot, North Dumfries and Wellesley – also offer family-friendly activities and amenities for residents and visitors who prefer a smaller community vibe.

Inventing the future

As one of the top overall growth markets for residents in their 20s and 30s, our tech ecosystem is full of high-quality tech talent who are fueling the next era of business success in Waterloo.

Read all the details by downloading the full report here.

Expand in Waterloo

Ready to access talent in Waterloo? Contact our team for complimentary resources and support.