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Waterloo ranks #1 for tech talent quality in new CBRE report

For the third consecutive year, Waterloo has ranked #1 in Canada for tech talent quality, according to CBRE's annual 'Scoring Tech Talent in Canada' report.

A new report ranks Waterloo fourth overall for tech talent and first in Canada for tech talent quality. The annual CBRE “Canada Scoring Tech Talent” report grades Canadian communities in eight categories, including talent availability, quality of labour and cost competitiveness.

Waterloo also ranked second in tech employment growth and real estate cost.

This tracks with CBRE’s earlier report on North American tech talent, which recognized Waterloo as the continent’s top emerging tech talent market.

Waterloo is competitive with Canada’s largest cities

The findings are fantastic news for Canada’s most dynamic tech ecosystem, which holds its own against Canada’s largest cities despite significant population differences. The results highlight the incredible density that makes the Waterloo ecosystem so unique – most of the local tech community is contained within a 10km/6.5mi radius.

Here’s a chart from CBRE that shows the direct comparison between Canada’s top five tech communities:

CBRE Scorecard

Waterloo’s tech talent is “exceptional”

Waterloo’s talent continues to receive a particular focus, with this report marking the third consecutive year that local tech talent has received an “exceptional” grade. While this ranking focuses primarily on experienced talent, this ranking has a lot to do with the University of Waterloo, which was recently ranked #1 in Canada for computer science, engineering and mathematics.

Interestingly, while CBRE reported relatively high salaries in Waterloo, the community was still ranked #1 in Canada for talent quality-to-cost. This is a testament to how highly-skilled the Waterloo tech labour force is.

CBRE Cost vs. Quality Analysis

Costs in the United States continue to rise faster than Canada

Last year, we highlighted the fact that the one-year cost obligation of a “typical tech firm” was much higher in the United States than Canada. The same is true in 2020. In fact, costs – including rent and wages – are rising faster in American cities than they are in Canadian tech hubs. According to CBRE, the Bay Area is now more than twice as expensive as Toronto, Vancouver or Waterloo.

All five of the highest-cost jurisdictions identified in the CBRE report are American, with Waterloo appearing in the middle of the Canadian pack. This further validates our recent 5 charts series, which included hard data that demonstrated Waterloo’s significant cost savings (and talent advantages) over mid-sized US cities like Austin, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Phoenix. The lesson: mid-size cities aren’t all created equal.

CBRE North America Cost Profile Comparison

Want to know who else is working in Waterloo? Download our free ecosystem maps with full business listings, including artificial intelligence, autotech, cybersecurity, fintech and quantum technology.

Would you like to learn more about Waterloo’s unique tech ecosystem?

We can provide comparative data, help identify talent opportunities and more.