Boston Lands at #8 on CBRE’s Annual Tech Talent Report

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Colin Yasukochi

BOSTON – Boston ranks #8 on CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard, part of its annual Scoring Tech Talent Report, which ranks 50 North American markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent.

Tech labor concentration – or the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Boston’s tech-talent labor pool is the seventh largest nationally at 167,110 workers, which amounts to 6% of the city’s overall workforce. The national average is 3.7 percent.

The top five markets for tech talent in 2020 were the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, Seattle, Toronto, and New York, all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 100,000. Boston’s ranking fell slightly to 8th this year but remained in the top ten markets.
“Boston’s large concentration of prestigious universities greatly contributes to the city’s highly competitive tech labor pool, securing its position as one of the top markets for tech talent in the nation,” said Andy Hoar, President of CBRE New England.

The report outlines how tech-talent jobs are positioned to weather COVID-19 and related shutdowns and the ensuing recession because, more than ever, companies across all industries need the technical skills that this talent base offers. Many tech products and services such as streaming, remote communications and social media now are in higher demand to support remote work and social distancing. Tech employment has shown it can withstand economic shocks: In the 2008-2010 recession, tech-talent employment declined by 0.5 percent while overall U.S. employment registered a 5.5 percent drop.

CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 unique 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.

“We expect that most tech-talent markets and professions will thrive after the pandemic subsides, and many that facilitate remote work and tech services such as e-commerce, social media and streaming services may have even greater growth opportunities accelerated by the COVID-19 disruption,” said Colin Yasukochi, Executive Director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center. “Markets that have strong innovation infrastructure – leading universities and high concentrations of tech jobs – will lead the next growth cycle.”

Boston stood out in the report in a number of other key areas:

  • Boston ranked #1 in the most concentrated millennial markets in 2018 at 33.9%.
  • The city churns out a significant number of tech graduates, ranking #4 among large tech-talent markets for number of tech-degree completions at 9,429, a 61% increase from the year prior.
  • Because the region is a top producer of tech talent, it is defined as a “brain drain” market because graduates do not always remain in the labor market where they earn their degrees.
  • The city ranked #9 among the top 10 markets for education attainment of professionals 25+ years old with a bachelor’s degree or higher at 51.4%.

Top 10 tech talent markets:

RANK (2019) MARKET SCORE
1 SF Bay Area, CA 82.56
2 Washington, D.C. 67.39
3 Seattle, WA 66.36
4 Toronto, ON 64.34
5 New York, NY 64.01
6 Austin, TX 60.30
7 Denver, CO 59.89
8 Boston, MA 59.61
9 Atlanta, GA 58.78
10 Raleigh-Durham, NC 56.29