Austin Remains At #6 On CBRE's Annual 'Scoring Tech Talent' Report

15 Jul 2020


Austin continues to stand out among largest North American tech-talent labor pools for its low cost of living and high tech-talent to overall cost ratios


Austin once again ranked in the top 10 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.


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. Austin held on to the number 6 ranking this year, coming in before Denver, Boston and Atlanta.

Tech labor concentration – or the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Austin has the seventh largest tech-talent labor pool concentration nationally, with 76,270 tech workers making up 7.1 percent of the overall Austin workforce. The national average is just 3.7 percent.

“With a strong, continually growing tech talent labor force and an overall lower cost of living and doing business, I think Austin could end up being a beneficiary market in the recovery of the pandemic as many tech users look to move out of more densely populated areas like New York City or San Francisco,” said Erin Morales, Senior Vice President at CBRE and member of the Tech and Media Practice Group. “We know that a large number of tech firms are allowing their employees to work remotely for now. Having an office in Austin allows tech firms to still have a central hub in a very desirable market with access to high-quality talent along with the live, work, play lifestyle that helps with recruitment and retainment.”


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

·       Although it is the 6th ranked tech market in the U.S., overall operating costs for tech-firms in Austin remain relatively low. Austin ranks 16th in the U.S. for the estimated total one-year operating costs a tech company can anticipate.

·       Austin’s tech talent labor force quality is considered very high with an overall labor cost that is well-below many other markets, like Washington D.C. or Seattle.

·       The millennial population aged 22 to 36 increased by 19.2 percent (59,524 people) since 2013. Austin also has the fifth-highest concentration of millennials, which account for 29.6 percent of its population.

·       Austin offers relatively low cost of living for tech-talent workers, with the average annual apartment rent amounting to 16.5 percent of the average tech-talent wage. For comparison, other top markets like Manhattan or San Francisco Bay Area have rent-to-tech wage ratios of 43.9% and 25.4% respectively.

·       Austin ranks as one of the top markets for educational attainment with 54.1% of urban residents over the age of 25 attaining a bachelor’s degrees or higher. This is much higher than the national average of 32.6%.

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.”



Top 10 tech talent markets:


RANK (2019)




SF Bay Area, CA



Washington, D.C.



Seattle, WA



Toronto, ON



New York, NY



Austin, TX



Denver, CO



Boston, MA



Atlanta, GA



Raleigh-Durham, NC




View the full report here. To view individual market statistics and rankings, including rankings on the Scorecard, access CBRE’s Tech Talent Analyzer.

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