A new report has ranked Waterloo fourth overall for tech talent and first in Canada for tech talent quality. The annual CBRE “Canada Scoring Tech Talent 2019” report grades communities in Canada in nine categories covering talent availability, quality of labour and cost competitiveness.
Here are 3 key takeaways from the report:
1. Waterloo is competitive with Canada’s biggest cities
Despite significant differences in scale, Waterloo is holding its own in competition with Canada’s largest cities and most concentrated tech labour pools. As the chart below illustrates, Waterloo is one of only two communities to receive top ranking in two of the nine categories.
Quality of labour and significant cost advantages are central to the Waterloo value proposition and this is the second year in a row that Waterloo’s unique combination of tech talent quality and cost have achieved “exceptional” status.
2. Canadian locations offer substantial cost advantages over the United States
Accounting for rent and wages (including tech, non-tech and management), all of Canada’s communities share a similar cost profile, with a one-year cost obligation for the “typical tech firm” hovering between $41 million and $35 million CAD. Waterloo is near the middle of the pack on overall costs, at $37.8 million CAD.
However, compared to American cities, the Canadian contingent has significant cost advantages. For example, the lowest-cost American district listed in the report is Chicago, with overall costs pegged at $52.1M CAD per year. The most expensive American communities are – no surprise – the Bay Area ($77.4M/year) and New York ($71.6M/year). In other words, business costs in Waterloo are 50% what they are in New York or the Bay Area.
3. Smaller cities are seeing significant tech talent labour pool growth
While the biggest centres – and Waterloo – are leading the way in CBRE’s rankings, it’s also important to note the incredible growth of tech talent labour pools in some of Canada’s other smaller cities, including Hamilton, Oshawa, Regina and Guelph (which is just 25km/15mi from Waterloo). We wrote about this phenomenon earlier this year, but it does seem like the ability to grow without exorbitant costs is driving more tech businesses to locate in smaller centres, which, in turn, is driving up the number of tech workers in the area.
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