Seattle still trails Bay Area in annual ‘Tech Talent’ report, but city’s labor pool quality ranks highest

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(GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

In the battle for tech hub supremacy, Seattle still trails the San Francisco Bay Area in CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report, a ranking of the top 50 North American markets for attracting, retaining and growing tech talent. But Seattle has edged ahead in one key metric, ranking No. 1 with the quality of its tech labor pool.

That second distinction is measured by the concentration of software engineers and developers with over three years of experience and degrees from the top 25 computer science programs in North America. Seattle is also the top market for educational attainment for adults over the age of 25 with 62.3 percent of this group holding a bachelor’s degree or higher — twice the national average.

After the Bay Area and Seattle, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and New York rounded out the top five markets for tech talent in CBRE’s 2019 report. The only change from a year ago is that Toronto and D.C. swapped the No. 3 and 4 spots. Here are the top 50:

Click to enlarge. (CBRE Graphic)

The Tech Talent Scorecard relies on 13 metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

“The ability of the Seattle region to produce, retain and attract talent is the reason why the city has such a highly educated population and consistent addition of intellectual capital,” Matt Walters of CBRE’s Seattle office said in a news release.

Seattle had a “brain gain” of 15,467 people between 2013 and 2018, the report said, meaning that more tech jobs were created than tech degree graduates produced. The concentration of tech jobs is 7.9 percent of all employment — fifth highest in the nation.

“These numbers are a testament to the growth that has followed in the wake of large tech companies moving into the area,” Walters said. Indeed, homegrown companies like Microsoft and Amazon have drawn big Bay Area competitors such as Facebook, Google and Apple to set up shop. More than 100 companies have set up satellite offices in Seattle.

Here are some other key areas where Seattle stood out, according to CBRE:

  • Seattle has the second-highest average tech worker salary at approximately $118,000, 22 percent above the national average. (Career marketplace Hired actually put that number at $138,000 in its own report last month.)
  • Seattle is the second most competitive market for those hiring tech talent, behind the Bay Area.
  • The millennial population has grown by 10.2 percent since 2012.
  • Seattle has the highest concentration of software engineers, which account for 58 percent of all tech occupations.

CBRE’s interactive Tech Talent Analyzer also found the Bay Area, Seattle, Denver and Austin to be the most competitive markets to hire tech talent based on labor market supply and demand, wage costs and talent quality.



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