The San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle remain in the top two spots among the CBRE group's annual ranking of U.S. and Canadian tech talent markets. Toronto made headway and moved up to the third spot, followed by Washington, D.C. (down from No. 3 last year) and New York.
Despite the continued dominance of big markets owning the largest volume of tech graduates and jobs, low unemployment rates have tempered their momentum. The tight talent pool has been partially responsible for growth in "lesser known and under-developed" markets including: Tucson, Arizona; Hamilton, Ontario; Waterloo Region, Ontario; Las Vegas; and Des Moines, Iowa.
The commercial real estate and investment firm's report ranked the top tech talent markets with 13 metrics used to determine the advantages of each market and their ability to entice and expand tech talent pools.
There are over 6 million highly skilled tech workers across the U.S. and Canada. It's no surprise that places like Toronto, where Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs is working on smart city plans for the city's new waterfront, continue to lure much of that talent.
But despite the desirability of the top cities listed in the report, a dwindling number of available talent in those markets has spurred hiring in smaller "upstart" cities. Employers are seeking new pockets of talent in "lesser known" markets, concentrated in Canada and the U.S. Midwest and South, according to the report.
Those markets, including Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dayton, Ohio; and Huntsville, Alabama, can be considered preferable by some workers due to the affordable cost of living compared to San Francisco and New York.
"Companies are thinking about the employees and wanting to locate in areas where the employees have a better cost of living," Lexi Russell, an associate director at CBRE, told Smart Cities Dive. "Whether they want to buy a home, or be in specific school areas or be near a city that has access to international airports."
It's not just the tech industry causing growth in smaller markets. The demand for tech jobs is growing across all industries. The finance and manufacturing industries are two areas where the demand for tech jobs will continue to grow, Russell said.
Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City will also experience growth not because of the tech industry, but because of the demand for tech jobs within the aerospace industry that drives those markets, she said.
As tech permeates across all industries, according to Russell, other large markets like Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta should also experience growth.