Dallas-Fort Worth’s Large Tech-Labor Force, Tech-Degree Completion Growth and Low Cost of Living Make It a Top Tech Market in North America
15 Jul 2020
CBRE’s annual ‘Scoring Tech Talent’ Report shows DFW’s tech-talent labor pool is fifth largest in the country with explosive growth in tech degrees since 2014
Dallas, TX – July 15, 2020 – Dallas/Fort Worth continues to attract the attention of tech companies, due in large part to the continued growth of the metroplex’s tech labor pool and millennial population as well as an affordable cost of living. These factors are highlighted through 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. DFW’s tech-talent labor pool is the fifth largest nationally at 179,570 workers, which amounts to 4.9 percent of the overall DFW workforce. The national average is 3.7 percent.
“North Texas has caught the eye of many tech companies and it’s not difficult to see why,” said Jeffrey Eiting, co-leader of CBRE‘s Tech & Media Practice in Dallas. “Dallas has solidified itself as a major tech employment hub with one of the largest tech labor pools in the country. Couple that with explosive growth over the last five years in tech degrees granted locally and you’ve got an economic engine that allows tech companies that are here to grow organically—and a tech labor force that is deep enough to accommodate the needs of the many companies looking to move or expand here.”
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.
“The future is very bright for DFW,” said Clay Vaughn, Senior Vice President and co-leader of CBRE’s Tech & Media Practice in Dallas. “Dallas is a top producer of tech talent and one of the largest tech talent markets in the country. We’re also more spread out, much less dependent on mass transit than other top tech markets and we’re known for our pro-business environment. The combination of these factors positions DFW to continue to be a high growth market for tech companies.”
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.”
DFW stood out in the report in a number of other key areas:
- The millennial population aged 22 to 36 increased by 11.4 percent (68,824 people) since 2013.
- DFW offers affordable living for tech-talent workers, with the average annual apartment rent amounting to 14.2 percent of the average tech-talent wage. That ranks 39th among the 50 largest tech-talent markets.
- The metroplex churns out a lot of tech graduates. It ranks eighth among large tech-talent markets for number of tech-degree completions at 6,503 in 2018. In fact, DFW produced roughly 5,000 more tech graduates (27,508) from 2015 to 2019 than new tech jobs (22,530).
- Overall, DFW ranks in the middle of the pack for expenses of operating a tech company. The average one-year cost for operating a 500-employee tech company occupying 75,000 sq. ft. in DFW amounts to $43.6 million. That ranks 17th most expensive among the top 50 markets.
Top 10 tech talent markets:
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