Orange County Rises on CBRE’s Annual ‘Scoring Tech Talent’ Report

15 Jul 2020


Growth in tech degrees and tech jobs propels the region up five spots; tied for biggest jump of any market

Orange County – Orange County ranks #21 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 region moved up five spots, one of only two markets to do so.

Tech labor concentration – or the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Orange County’s tech-talent labor pool totals 73,524 workers, which amounts to 4.4 percent of the overall Orange County workforce. That compares with the national average of 3.7 percent.

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. Orange County’s ranking increased significantly, up from 26th in 2019. Ottawa and Orange County were the only two markets to jump five spots from last year’s rankings.

“The Orange County market has a unique blend of highly skilled labor, tremendous historical technology DNA and a fantastic lifestyle that have proven to be very attractive to the technology employee and employer,” said Travis Boyd, executive vice president in CBRE’s Newport Beach office. “Additionally, the impact and influence of the noteworthy research and technology focus occurring at UC Irvine and Chapman University provide for a solid underpinning of support.”

He added, “With an extremely adaptable commercial real estate product offering, we believe the Orange County market will continue to trend successfully and likely pick up pace as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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.”

Orange County stood out in the report in a number of other key areas:
• Orange County ranks 11th across all markets with an average tech talent wage of $100,869, just behind Los Angeles.
• Overall, Orange County ranks 11th for expenses of operating a tech company. The average one-year cost for running a 500-employee tech company occupying 75,000 sq. ft. in Orange County amounts to $45.1 million, $16.9 million below the San Francisco Bay Area.
• Orange County ranks fourth across all U.S. markets in the growth of completed tech degrees from 2014 to 2018 at 62.1 percent.
• Orange County ranked 14th in tech labor pool growth rate from 2015 to 2019, adding 12,504 jobs in that time frame which equates to 20.5 percent growth.
• Office rents in Orange County are 48 percent higher than they were five years ago.

Top 10 tech talent markets:

1 SF Bay Area, CA 82.56
2 Washington, D.C. 67.39
3 Seattle, WA 66.36
4 Toronto, ON 64.34
5 New York, NY 64.01
6 Austin, TX 60.30
7 Denver, CO 59.89
8 Boston, MA 59.61
9 Atlanta, GA 58.78
10 Raleigh-Durham, NC 56.29

View the full report here. 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