Toronto and Ottawa Climb the Global Tech Rankings

It’s been hard to ignore the rapid growth of Canada’s tech sector over the past year. Now there are some figures to back up that torrid pace.

Toronto created more technology jobs in 2017 than Seattle, San Francisco and Washington D.C. combined, an astonishing feat considering the former two are synonymous with “tech growth” around the world. In total, Toronto created 28,900 technology jobs in 2017, 14 per cent more than in 2016. These figures come from the CBRE’s 2018 edition of Scoring Tech Talent in North America, and follow trends from last year that saw Toronto emerge as the continent’s fastest-growing market.

However, in terms of being an overall tech talent market, Toronto still trails behind those three U.S. cities mentioned above, though it did leapfrog New York City for fourth place this year.

The report comes with some disappointing figures for Canada’s tech market as well. Canada as a whole has seen criticism in terms of how low the average salary in the tech world is, and this is confirmed through CBRE’s rankings of cities, shown below.

Tech talent 2018 salary

Even though Canada has higher-than-average labour quality, the four Canadian cities included on the rankings are the four lowest by far, excluding Madison. Ottawa has the highest average salary, followed by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Because of these low salaries, Canadian cities rank as the four lowest-cost markets to run a tech company in.

In total, Toronto has 241,000 tech workers, which is up 52 per cent over the past five years. Other interesting pieces of information from the piece show that Toronto ranks eighth out of 50 when it comes to diversity in tech, with 27.7 per cent of the city’s tech workforce identifying as female. They were the only Canadian city in the top 10.

It’s not really a surprise that Toronto is growing so quickly in terms of overall tech talent and jobs, as international talent has been flocking to the city more than ever in the past years. But the real problem may come from this talent’s lack of initiative to build homegrown companies, and instead choosing to work for large international entities.

Ottawa on the Rise

Ottawa also had a special spot within the report, as it was the fastest-growing tech talent market in North America with a higher momentum score than second-place L.A. and third-place Madison. CBRE found this total by looking at the concentration of tech jobs as a percentage of overall labour in the city.

Canada’s capital has over 70,000 total tech talent jobs and has grown its tech labour pool by close to 16 per cent in the last five years. This is due to a dramatic increase in tech degrees being awarded as well as low living and office space costs.