Salt Lake City Market Holds at 15 on CBRE Annual Scoring Tech Talent Report

17 Jul 2020


For the second year in a row, Salt Lake City ranks #15 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. Of the 32 large tech markets included in the report, Salt Lake City—which includes both the Salt Lake and Provo office markets—is the smallest, with a tech labor pool of 51,220. In previous years Salt Lake has been identified in the report as a small market, but the area experienced a 42.7 percent change in growth from the 2019 report, pushing its reclassification to a large market in 2020.

Tech labor concentration—or the percentage of total employment—is an influential factor in how “tech- centric” the market is and its growth potential. Salt Lake City’s tech-talent labor pool amounts to 5.2 percent of the overall area’s workforce, which is above the national average of 3.7 percent.

“Salt Lake’s tech community consistently punches above its weight in this report,” noted Eric Smith, senior vice president and Salt Lake’s local tech practice group leader. “As an attractive market for both employers and employees that has high-quality lifestyle and talent, Salt Lake City has attracted investment throughout the previous economic growth cycle. These positive fundamentals have forged a sure foundation that will be key to continued strength as the market navigates current economic uncertainty.”

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.”

Here are a number of key Salt Lake City-based highlights from the report:

  • The average annual operating costs of running a tech business in SLC are slightly below average for the companies in the study, ranking #33 on the list.

  • Salt Lake is considered to have high-quality labor at a moderate cost, making it a competitively balanced market when it comes to tech labor.

  • Salt Lake City’s five-year tech talent growth rate of 42.7% is second only to Vancouver at 47.9%, pushing the market into the “large tech labor pool” category.

  • Salt Lake City has below-average costs of living, landing at #32.

  • The Salt Lake City market area is a net producer of tech talent adding more tech graduates (22,361) in the past five years than tech jobs it created (15,320); a deficit of 7,041 and what the report labels a ‘brain drain.’

  • The market area has experienced a 6.3% increase in its millennial population since 2013.


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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