The most critical factor in corporate expansions by tech businesses is the pursuit of talent.
Of course, proximity and access to customers, suppliers, finance and opportunity are all important, but increasingly, it is the search for the right skills and evidence of a future-proof pipeline of talent that is driving expansion and relocation.
For companies looking at North America, research by CBRE offers comparisons between 50 cities in the US and Canada, that highlights the considerable differences between competing locations. The excellent 2018 CBRE Tech Talent Report uses thirteen metrics to measure each market’s depth, vitality and attractiveness. The overall top-ranked markets are San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington DC, Toronto-Waterloo and New York. The detailed analysis reveals a number of interesting results:
– Biggest Brain Gain = Toronto, Ontario
The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor has added 82,100 tech workers in the last five years, more than any other North American city. More than the San Francisco Bay Area and more than New York, Dallas and Seattle combined! Many major cities are seeing a Brain Drain but Toronto-Waterloo is leading North America’s Brain Gain.
– Fastest Growing Tech Talent = Ottawa, Ontario
Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, was a clear leader in this category ahead of Los Angeles. Ottawa has seen growth of 15.2% in the past two years.
– Most Tech Talent Jobs as a % of Total Workforce = Ottawa, Ontario
More than 11% of Ottawa’s workforce is employed in the tech sector, ahead of San Francisco (9.8%) and Toronto (8.9%).
– Best Value for Money
It is useful to see the estimated operating costs for a specific project and CBRE helpfully provide this. Based on a 500-person tech company requiring 75,000 sq ft office space, the following annual costs have been calculated:
- San Francisco $59.12m
- New York $55.46m
- Washington DC $51.89m
- Seattle $51.55m
- Ottawa $32.19m
- Toronto-Waterloo $30.22m
These results concur with the regular benchmarking that I undertake for European businesses that are evaluating and comparing locations in North America. If you’re interested in finding out more or would like any help in planning your next North American expansion, please get in touch.