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Canadian cities rank among the highest in North America for tech talent

Waterloo Region and the Canadian tech ecosystem excelled in the latest Scoring Tech Talent report from CBRE, an international commercial real-estate services company.

Waterloo Region jumped six spots to No. 18 on CBRE’s ranking of the top 50 North American tech markets. The number of tech workers in the region rose to 29,700 in 2022, up 52 per cent – or 10,100 jobs – over five years.

The region also had one of the highest concentrations of tech talent, with tech occupations representing 10.1 per cent of total employment in the area (just below the San Francisco Bay Area (11.6 per cent) but ahead of both Toronto and Seattle (9.5 per cent each).

Canada’s tech workforce grew by 15.7 per cent (150,000 workers) between 2020 and 2022, faster than the U.S. growth rate of 11.4 per cent (610,000 workers).

Vancouver had the highest tech-job growth rate (69 per cent) of the 50 cities measured. It remained at No. 8 on the Scoring Tech Talent list. Ottawa moved up two spots to No. 11; Montreal rose three spots to No. 12. Toronto slipped two spots but is still the highest ranked Canadian city at No. 5. The San Francisco Bay Area remains No. 1 in North America.

“The scorecard shows how competitive and tightly clustered the top tech markets are right now,” said CBRE Canada Executive Chairman Paul Morassutti.

Communitech CEO and President Chris Albinson said the CBRE report provides more evidence that Canada is one of the most vibrant tech nations in the world.

“It’s not just wishful thinking,” he said. “More and more tech talent is coming to Canada. If you want to work hard and build great tech for the good of the planet, Canada wants you!”

A tech-talent report released last week by the Technology Councils of North America and Canada’s Tech Network suggested a sharp increase in the number of international tech workers immigrating to Canada, with more than 32,000 arriving between April 2022 and March 2023.

The report also said the number of tech workers in Waterloo Region has risen to more than 28,000, in line with the CBRE findings.

Canadian tech leaders have long cited the value of encouraging international tech talent to come to Canada. In 2020, Communitech ran a successful billboard campaign in Silicon Valley and New York City that urged foreign tech talent to move north of the border.

Just last month, the federal government unveiled its first-ever Tech Talent Strategy, with a focus on making it easier for international tech workers to come to Canada.

“We’re targeting newcomers that can help enshrine Canada as a world leader in a variety of emerging technologies,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said at the launch.

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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