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Waterloo is #1 Small Tech Talent Market for 3rd Year in a Row

Waterloo has retained the top spot on CBRE's list of tech talent markets in North America. See how we scored against other leading tech hubs.

Waterloo has once again been named the top tech talent market in North America in the latest CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report.  

This marks the region’s third consecutive year as the #1 small tech talent market. In the overall rankings, Waterloo rose from #24 to #18, making it one of the top-3 fastest-rising markets – large or small.  

The report highlights the reasons behind Waterloo’s success, including its high concentration of tech talent, growing number of young professionals and cost and quality of talent.  

Let’s explore the key findings from the report. 

The 2023 CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report provides a comprehensive analysis of labor market conditions, cost and quality for highly skilled tech workers in North America. It ranks the top-50 tech talent markets in the United States and Canada based on their attractiveness to both employers and employees. 

The report highlights Waterloo’s impressive growth as a tech hub, driven by its increasing number of tech jobs and young professionals. Between 2017 and 2022, Waterloo had the third highest tech job growth rate at 52% behind Vancouver (69%) and Calgary (61%). It was the top overall growth market for residents in their 20s at 21.3% and their 30s at 17.2%. 

The report also acknowledges Waterloo’s high concentration of tech workers – the most concentrated of all small markets and in the top-5 overall – and cost advantages as key factors contributing to its success. According to CBRE, Waterloo (along with Vancouver and Edmonton) provides the “best value when it comes to cost and quality.” 

Here are the top-10 ranked small tech talent markets, as identified by CBRE: 

  1. Waterloo 
  2. Madison 
  3. Orlando 
  4. Pittsburgh 
  5. Quebec City 
  6. Nashville 
  7. Edmonton 
  8. Indianapolis 
  9. Sacramento 
  10. Cincinnati 

Waterloo outshines larger communities

What’s notable about Waterloo’s achievement is that it has surpassed many larger communities in the overall rankings, including San Diego (#20), Philadelphia (#22), Chicago (#23), Detroit (#27) and Houston (#36). With an overall ranking of #18, Waterloo has built a name for itself in tech – regardless of market size.

The report also highlights how Waterloo’s tech talent workforce growth (52%) has outpaced major cities such as New York (11%), Los Angeles (17%), the Bay Area (23%) and Toronto (29%) over the last five years, demonstrating its ability to attract young, quality talent.

With more than 10,000 new tech workers added in the last five years, Waterloo’s tech workforce has grown more than Chicago (2,500), Atlanta (8,380), Philadelphia (6,710), San Diego (8,760) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (3,440) since 2017.

Canada has tech talent advantages

The CBRE report highlights the strength of Canadian tech talent markets. Waterloo’s success contributes to Canada’s position as a leader in the tech industry.  

The report recognizes the importance of the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, where Waterloo plays a significant role. Toronto ranks #5 overall in the report and, together with Waterloo, continues to experience rapid growth, with 73,900 new tech jobs added since 2017.   

Additionally, the report showcases Canada’s success in attracting skilled talent from around the world, with five Canadian cities among the top-20 in North America.

Go where the talent is

With another stellar performance in CBRE’s Tech Talent Report, Waterloo solidifies its position as the leading small tech talent market in North America. The report’s findings emphasize Waterloo’s rapid growth and exceptional tech talent pool, two key factors to consider when evaluating expansion locations. 

You can find all the details in the full report here: 2023 Scoring Tech Talent Report.

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