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CBRE names Waterloo the #1 small tech talent market in North America

A new CBRE report lists Waterloo as one of North America's top tech talent markets, ahead of Detroit, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Madison.

For the second consecutive year, CBRE has identified Waterloo as the #1 small tech talent market in North America. The report highlights Waterloo’s fast-growing graduate and millennial populations, high degree of tech worker concentration and significant cost advantages.

The annual CBRE “Scoring Tech Talent” report is a comprehensive analysis of labour market conditions, cost and quality for highly skilled tech workers in North America. The top-50 markets in in the Unites States and Canada were ranked according to their competitive advantages and appeal to both employers and employees.

Here are the top-10 ranked small tech talent markets:

1. Waterloo

2. Pittsburgh

3. Charlotte

4. Calgary

5. Orlando

6. Madison

7. Edmonton

8. Indianapolis

9. Quebec City

10. Sacramento

Putting bigger communities on notice

In addition to being the top-ranked small tech talent market in North America, Waterloo also ranked higher than many larger communities, including Detroit, Columbus, Tampa, Houston and Nashville. Waterloo was ranked #24 overall, just behind Portland, Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Furthermore, the new report ranks Waterloo #1 among all tech talent markets in North America for both new graduate and millennial population growth.

Perhaps as interesting, the communities with the slowest growth rate among both demographic groups are the largest communities, like New York and Los Angeles. The new graduate growth rate was negative in New York, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Seattle, but was +8.5% in Toronto and +12.1% in Waterloo.

The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor continues to dominate

The CBRE report is, in general, very friendly to Canadian tech talent markets. Canadian communities dominate the new graduate and millennial growth rate comparison while representing the eight lowest-cost locations in the report.

More specifically, CBRE highlights the global significance of the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor. Toronto ranks #3 overall in the report and, along with Waterloo, continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in the top-50. Toronto and Waterloo are also both in the top-5 for tech talent concentration – these are both high-density talent markets.

Together, Toronto and Waterloo would have nearly as many tech workers as New York, and at current growth rates, should be expected to leapfrog New York within the next couple years.

This growth is largely driven by the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor’s immense post-secondary advantage. In our recent study of the biggest global top-25 tech schools both the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto were in the top-4. In other words, we produce more high-quality tech talent in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor than anywhere else in the world.

You can find more information from CBRE’s scoring tech talent report on their website.

Want to learn more about the Waterloo tech ecosystem?