The Bay Area, The Largest and #1 Ranked Tech Talent Market in North America is Poised for Growth Spurt

CBRE, San Francisco, Bay Area, San Jose

The San Francisco Bay Area retains the #1 ranking in CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report, which ranks 50 U.S. and Canadian markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent.

Years of tightening availability of tech talent in the Bay Area has not dampened tech companies’ willingness to plan for growth by signing large forward commitments of office space within the region. An estimated 30 million sq. ft. of office space has been committed to during the last six years, with 10 million sq. ft. since 2018. These companies are also diversifying into many markets across the U.S. and have leased approximately 25 million sq. feet outside the Bay Area.

“The competition for tech talent in the Bay Area is fierce, yet having a presence here is essential to elevate innovation by tapping into the top-quality tech labor pool the region offers,” said Jenny Haeg, vice chairman in CBRE’s San Francisco office.

The top five markets for tech talent in 2019 were the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and New York, all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 50,000.

Low unemployment has made competition fierce for qualified candidates, which has redistributed growth across North America. While the Bay Area and New York City are still the top producers of tech jobs, Toronto, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles have experienced high growth rates over the last few years as they have been less saturated than the “original” tech hubs.

The Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 unique metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

The San Francisco Bay Area stands out in the report in a number of other key areas:

  • The San Francisco Bay Area is the largest, top ranked, most concentrated tech labor pool and has the most competitive hiring environment of all 50 markets
  • In the last five years the Bay Area experienced a “brain gain,” an inflow of 55,000 more tech jobs than tech graduates in the region, the highest in the U.S.
  • The majority of new office development is focused in the urban centers of downtown San Francisco and downtown San Jose providing access to transportation and amenities coveted by tech companies

Top 10 tech talent markets:

RANK (2019)MARKETSCORE
1SF Bay Area, CA84.79
2Seattle, WA73.82
3Toronto, ON69.88
4Washington, D.C.69.83
5New York, NY65.12
6Austin, TX62.10
7Boston, MA60.26
8Denver, CO59.43
9Atlanta, GA58.08
10Raleigh-Durham, NC57.68

CBRE’s interactive Tech Talent Analyzer found the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Denver and Austin to be the most competitive markets to hire tech talent based on labor market supply/demand, wage costs and talent quality. 

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2018 revenue). The company has more than 90,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 480 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services.

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