15 Jul 2020


Nashville stands out among North American tech-talent cities for its labor pool growth, millennial population change, and brain gain

Nashville, TN – July 15, 2020 Nashville ranks #42 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.

Nashville is a tech talent attractor with strong growth potential. The Nashville tech-talent labor pool reached 31,190 and grew at the second-fastest pace of small tech markets, increasing by 29.9 percent (7,180 by volume) between 2015-2019.

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. Nashville’s rapid growth assisted in raising the rank up three spots to 42nd this year.

“Nashville’s millennial population has grown the fastest of all small tech markets with an increase of 14.4 percent since 2013. This has contributed greatly to the growth of tech talent in the market. Along with the overall labor pool growth and brain gain of newly created tech jobs outpacing Nashville’s rate of tech-degree graduations, we expect Nashville to continue to grow as a tech-talent market in the future,” said Stephen Kulinski, managing director at CBRE.

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.”

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

  • Among small tech markets, Nashville ranks first in millennial population change, having increased its millennial population by 25,829 people (14.4 percent) since 2013. Nashville is also ranked number sixth overall for the most concentrated millennial markets in 2018, with 29.6 percent of its population being millennials 22 to 36 years of age.
  • Nashville stands out as a tech-job creator and tech talent attractor, adding 3,021 more tech jobs than graduates, ranking tenth among all the top markets to report a “brain gain.” Music City’s tech degree completions also increased by 36.2 percent from 2014-2018.
  • Nashville’s average annual apartment rent amounts to 18.5 percent of the average tech-talent wage. That ranks 17th among the 50 largest tech-talent markets, making it an affordable city for tech talent to live.
  • Overall, Nashville’s expenses for operating a tech company remain low. The average one-year cost for operating a 500-employee tech company occupying 75,000 sq. ft. in Nashville amounts to $38 million. That ranks #41 among the top 50 tech-talent markets.

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

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at