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Report: San Francisco, Seattle Top Best Markets in Tech Talent

San Francisco, Seattle, Bay Area, Puget Sound, Sacramento,CBRE 2023 Scoring Tech Talent Report, CBRE, Bellevue

By Kate Snyder

The Bay Area and the Puget Sound region topped CBRE’s list of best markets for tech talent in a recently released report. Seattle ranked second overall in CBRE’s 2023 Scoring Tech Talent report, remaining right behind the Bay Area as macroeconomic headwinds slowed tech talent hiring by major tech firms in North America.

CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report covers 75 North American markets, ranks the top 50 tech markets in the U.S. and Canada and outlines tech talent labor market trends amid economic shifts and increased remote hiring. Overall, the U.S. and Canada added a net 760,000 tech talent jobs since 2020. The number of U.S. tech talent workers increased 7.3 percent from May 2021 to May 2022, which exceeded the 5 percent growth in total U.S. employment in May 2022. For the first time this year, CBRE’s report also examined wages paid by tech companies based on geography. In 2021, the Bay Area posted the highest average annual salaries at $185,425, followed by Seattle at $172,009. Sacramento, with an average annual salary of $107,580, was among the highest in small markets.

“The labor market for tech talent is still very competitive, even amid a slower economy and layoffs. However, it has loosened enough to create hiring opportunities for non-tech companies,” Colin Yasukochi, executive director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center in San Francisco, said in a release. “As tech talent gets redistributed across other industries, our economy becomes more digital and that could spur new growth for tech professions. Artificial intelligence has seen a surge in venture capital funding, a positive indicator for the future growth of tech.”

Even as the tech sector’s resilience was tested in 2022, the San Francisco region continues to lead with the largest tech talent labor pool and highest number of tech roles of any U.S. market. The Bay Area added 75,020 tech talent jobs between 2017 and 2022, a 23 percent increase, according to the report. The region also employs the most tech roles of any market with 407,810 positions, which makes up 11.6 percent of total Bay Area employment and is more than double the 50-market average of 5.6 percent.

Software developers and programmers across all industries accounted for more than half of the new tech talent employment, the report states. The Bay Area’s tech industry employed 76.6 percent of the region’s software engineers, the highest concentration in the U.S. as of 2021. Overall, the region’s tech workforce of 407,810 grew by 23 percent, or 75,020, from 2017 to 2022, which is the largest numerical gain and 16th largest percentage gain among large tech talent markets. It also has the fifth highest total of tech degree graduates at 9,967 and the second highest share – 52.4 percent – of people 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, behind only Washington, D.C.

Up north, Seattle’s tech talent workforce of 194,040 grew by 28.6 percent, or 44,020, in the five years between 2017 to 2022, which tied for the eighth largest gain among large tech talent markets by percentage and sixth most by volume, according to the report. Seattle remains a top destination for new tech jobs, with the addition of 23,094 tech degrees from 2017 to 2021 and 43,190 new jobs from 2018 to 2022. Seattle ranks second in percentage of software engineers employed in the tech industry with 76.4 percent.

However, Seattle wasn’t the only city in the Puget Sound region that received attention for its tech talent position. Bellevue was shouted out by a CBRE professional as well.

“Historically, Bellevue has been a tight tech labor and office space market, and we are currently seeing increased opportunities on both fronts,” Bill Cooper, a senior vice president in CBRE’s Technology Occupier Group in Bellevue said in a news release. “With more high-level tech talent in the market, we see more start-ups get created. In parallel, landlords are more eager to fill office space, with many locations already highly built out from a previous tenant. From our perspective the opportunity for employers is better than it’s ever been in Bellevue.”