The tech industry is growing so fast across North America that the demand for qualified individuals far outstrips the talent available. From coast to coast, urban centres have experienced a rapid rise in calls for software engineers, as well as sales, marketing, and management professionals who are able to handle the complexities and fast pace of the industry.
That demand is true even in well-developed markets. More than six million skilled workers across the U.S. and Canada work in the tech industry, and while regions like the Bay Area and Seattle have previously been hiring hotbeds, the shrinking availability of talent in those large settings has impacted companies’ growth.
As employers race to put workers in front of desks to keep productivity high, tech organizations have started looking to smaller, up-and-coming markets across North America. Recent trends point to a rapid spillover of hiring momentum into less well-known tech hubs across North America as tech employers dip into different labour pools to fuel their workforce. One such market is Vancouver.
This week, the CBRE Group—the largest commercial real estate services company in the world—released its annual report scoring tech talent across North America. The document ranks the top 50 locations in categories including labour pool, wages, and educational attainment rates, and offers a pulse-check of trends and markets across the continent.
Vancouver features in every category.
With its deep roster of tech professionals, the city this year ranked 12th overall for its availability of talent. This puts Vancouver as the greatest rising market in North America, beating out Madison, Salt Lake City, and Portland for the top spot. The report lends credence to the recent trend observed in the city, where, over the past 12 months, a number of Bay Area companies have set up satellite offices or new headquarters.
Vancouver scored particularly highly, too, on the “brain drain or gain?” category. Coming fifth overall, the city has experienced some of the greatest numbers of professionals moving to the city, meaning that tech companies are hiring both local grads and qualified immigrants. Much of that can likely be attributed to Vancouver’s welcoming immigration policy and strategies such as the startup visa initiative and provincial nominee program, both of which aim to resettle talented individuals and their families quickly and easily.
Predictably, the city achieved its lowest scores in categories related to compensation. Vancouver scored 49 of 50 in the area of tech talent wages, narrowly beating out Montreal, which placed last. The same was true of non-tech wages in the industry—marketing, sales, and office support—though the city took the bottom spot when it came to managers’ wages. Its highest placement was, predictably, the category that scored how much apartment rents have risen since 2013, where it came fourth. It’s worth nothing, though, that the actual dollar amount is much lower than most U.S. tech hubs for the average monthly apartment rent, with Vancouver placing 36th overall.
Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays