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Canadian tech hubs shine on Top 50 list

The Waterloo-Toronto corridor shines brightly in the latest CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report, which ranks the top 50 tech centres in the U.S. and Canada based on competitive advantage and appeal to tech employers and talent.

Waterloo Region was once again the top small market (under 50,000 tech workers), while ranking No. 24 on the overall list of 50 tech-rich communities. 

Toronto was ranked No. 3 overall, behind only the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

Toronto also had the highest tech-talent job growth since the start of the pandemic, adding 39,700 tech jobs between 2019 and 2021.

In addition to Toronto and Waterloo Region, other Canadian tech hubs on the CBRE list include: Vancouver (No. 8), Ottawa (No. 13), Montreal (No. 15), Calgary (No. 28), Edmonton (No. 35) and Quebec City (No. 39).

The report also identified three Canadian cities with potential to grow into significant tech hubs: Halifax, Winnipeg and London, Ont.

Three Canadian communities, including Waterloo Region, were among the top five hubs for "talent concentration" (the number of tech workers as a percentage of the area’s total workforce). Ottawa led the entire 50-member pack with 11.6 per cent, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area (11.4 per cent), Toronto (10.3 per cent), Seattle (9.9 per cent) and Waterloo Region (9.6 per cent).

“Tech talent concentration – the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how ‘tech’ the market is and in its growth potential,” the report said. “This sizeable concentration of highly skilled workers offers an environment conducive to innovation.”

According to the CBRE report, Canadian cities on the list had the following number of tech workers:

  • Toronto: 289,700 tech workers in 2021, up 88,900 (44 per cent) since 2016.
  • Montreal: 148,900 tech workers in 2021, up 31,200 (27 per cent) since 2016.
  • Vancouver: 115,400 tech workers in 2021, up 44,460 (63 per cent) since 2016.
  • Ottawa: 81,200 tech workers in 2021, up 14,800 (22 per cent) since 2016.
  • Calgary: 40,600 tech workers in 2021, up 7,400 (22 per cent) since 2016.
  • Quebec City: 35,700 tech workers in 2021, up 10,700 (43 per cent) since 2016.
  • Edmonton: 32,400 tech workers in 2021, up 9,200 (40 per cent) since 2016.
  • Waterloo Region: 24,000 tech workers in 2021, up 1,800 (eight per cent) since 2016.

Canadian tech hubs also scored high on the number of post-secondary technology degrees earned, and youthful populations, which the report cited as “two key elements that top tech talent markets share.”

As well, the report found that Canadian hubs were the most affordable places to operate tech companies, in terms of office rent and wages.

“The CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report is further evidence that Canada is the best place on the planet to work in tech and to build big, awesome companies that are committed to 'tech for good,'” said Chris Albinson, CEO of Communitech.

Communitech recently launched Team True North, a data-driven initiative to identify, support and celebrate Canadian private companies that have the highest probability of reaching $1 billion in annual revenue by 2030. In addition to positive financial data, eligibility includes global ambitions and a commitment to “tech you can trust,” a major differentiator for Canadian companies in international markets.

"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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