15 Jul 2020


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Cole Mortland

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San Diego stands out among largest North American tech-talent labor pools for its competitive pay and strong job growth

San Diego – San Diego ranks #19 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.

Tech labor concentration – or the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. San Diego’s tech-talent labor pool ranks 20th nationally at 76,770 workers, which amounts to 5.1 percent of the overall San Diego workforce. The national average is 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 50,000. San Diego’s ranking dipped slightly to 19th this year, behind Minneapolis and Phoenix, from 18th last year.

“We continue to be bullish about the future of the San Diego tech market, even amidst a global pandemic,” said Andy Ewald, first vice president in CBRE’s San Diego office. “San Diego has incredible fundamentals to support the growth of tech-related companies in our market. With a strong pool of highly skilled labor emerging from our universities every year, I am confident that businesses will look to our market to expand over time.”

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.”

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

  • San Diego ranks sixth across all markets with an average tech talent wage of $109,053, behind only the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington D.C., New York and Boston.
  • Overall, San Diego ranks 7th 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 San Diego amounts to $47.8 million, $14.2 million below the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • San Diego ranks second across all U.S. markets in the growth of completed tech degrees from 2014 to 2018 at 76 percent.
  • The millennial population aged 22 to 36 increased by 3.7 percent (30,232 people) since 2013.


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.

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