A new report from CBRE Group Inc. has found that while Toronto remains Canada’s top market for tech talent by a substantial margin, the Waterloo region is growing at more than twice the speed.

The Los Angeles-based commercial real estate services’ 2017 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report once again declared Toronto Canada’s top tech city thanks to its 212,500 tech positions, educated workforce (39 per cent have a bachelor’s degree or higher), and 31.8 per cent rate of tech-related job growth between 2011 and 2016 (Waterloo’s numbers were 21,200, 29 per cent, and 65.6 per cent, respectively).

Overall CBRE’s calculations, which analyzed 14 metrics including each city’s labour pool, job growth, and labour cost, awarded Toronto a score of 81.6, a slight drop from its 2016 score of 83.94, but well above second-place winner Ottawa, which received a score of 69 (a substantial gain from its 61.26 score last year).

The top five were rounded out by Vancouver, which scored 62.7 (a drop from last year’s 67.25); Montreal (which retained the same score – 58.8 – despite being home to 124,600 tech-related jobs, the second-highest-concentrated number in the country); and Waterloo, which jumped from a score of 32.52 last year to 58.5.

“Cities across North America are jockeying for the attention of leading tech firms and its increasingly clear which cities are leading the pack,” Paul Morassutti, CBRE Canada’s executive managing director said in a Nov. 23 statement. “Waterloo Region continues to show its strength as one of Canada’s top tech markets and a major engine of innovation for the Canadian economy. Not only is it the fastest growing over the five-year period, it is also the fastest growing market year-over-year.”

In fact, CBRE revealed, the 8400 tech jobs that Waterloo added between 2011 and 2016 made it North America second-fastest-growing tech labour pool in general, next to Charlotte, North Carolina (which grew by 77.1 per cent).

And though Toronto remains Canada’s undisputed magnet for tech employers and employees, adding 51,300 tech jobs between 2011 and 2016, the country as a whole added 138,300 tech-related positions during the same period, 34,500 in 2016 alone.

Vancouver fell in this year’s rankings because although it offers employers high quality labour at a moderate cost, the city’s tech job growth was flat in 2016 (it currently employes 65,100 people in tech-related positions), while Ottawa increased its tech talent base by 11.9 per cent, creating 7,300 jobs between 2016 and 2017. Its labour force is also the country’s most educated, with 45 per cent of residents possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Winnipeg, and London rounded out the top 10.

Morassutti emphasized that regardless of location, a Canadian office represents a terrific investment for international tech firms.

“For global tech firms looking to grow in North America, Canada provides the best bang for their buck,” he said. “Canadian cities offer companies highly educated talent pools and immigration policies that allow for the recruitment of the best talent from around the world, lower salary costs and all with the benefit of a discounted Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar.”

Without comment, the report also highlights one goal that Canada’s tech industry claims to pursue in which nearly every city is failing: Nine of Canada’s top 10 tech cities have a tech-related workforce that is at least 76 per cent male, and in four cases (Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Halifax) that percentage is 80 or more.

The sole exception is London, where only 57 per cent of the city’s 5600 tech-related jobs are filled by men.

Check out the report’s highlights, represented by blue hikers, in the interactive map below, or download the full report here.

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