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Tech Workers Increasingly Attracted to Affordable Markets With Growing Tech Presence

July 14, 2016
By: Jonathan Dworin

Skilled technology workers are gravitating toward cities where the cost of living is lower and more jobs are available, according to real estate research firm CBRE's annual Scoring Tech Talent report, a ranking of 50 U.S. and Canadian markets based on their perceived ability to attract and grow tech talent. Large, established tech markets such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Seattle ranked the highest in CBRE's Tech Talent Scorecard index, which uses 13 metrics for each market and weights each by their relative importance to those companies seeking tech talent. Columbus, home of SSTI's 2016 Annual Conference, ranked first among smaller markets analyzed in the report.

"Tech talent," as defined by the report, includes workers in the following occupation categories: software developers and programmers; computer support, database and systems; technology and engineering related; and, computer and information system managers. Although 37.3 percent of tech talent workers are in "core high-tech" sectors such as computer software and services and computer product manufacturing, their occupations exist in every industry sector, according to the report.

The Tech Talent Scorecard index uses 13 metrics for each market and weights each by their relative importance to those companies seeking tech talent. Examples of metrics incorporated into the index include: tech talent supply, growth, concentration, and cost; completed tech degrees; industry outlook for job growth; and the market outlook for both office and apartment rentals. Of large markets, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Seattle ranked the highest in CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard index. Small markets scoring highly include Columbus, Charlotte, and Portland, OR.

Although large, established tech markets ranked highly in the report, smaller markets such as Charlotte (74.7 percent growth in tech talent) and Nashville (67.9 percent growth) led the way as top "momentum markets," which CBRE uses to rank cities based on tech talent growth rates between 2010 and 2015. Colin Yasukochi, who authored the report on behalf of CBRE, notes, "tech talent growth rates are the best indicator of labor pool momentum, and it’s easily quantifiable to identify the markets where demand for tech workers has surged." Yasukochi also highlights educational attainment, cost of living, and the presence of millennials as notable factors that are influential in shaping both large and small tech markets.

The full report includes data tables that encompass CBRE's Tech Talent Scorecard index, as well as full breakdowns of each region profiled.

Download CBRE's Annual Scoring Tech Talent report here: https://researchgateway.cbre.com/Layouts/PublicReportAccess/Default.aspx?PUBID=2166d301-9a78-4f5e-bd43-ec143d145a39.

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