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September 22, 2021
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San Francisco Bay Area Retains Top Spot on Annual “Scoring Tech Talent” from CBRE

7/15/21

This report was provided by global real estate services firm CBRE

San Francisco has retained its position as the #1 overall market on CBRE’s 2021 Scoring Tech Talent report as North American tech-talent employment weathered the pandemic better than most other professions. Demand for many tech-enabled services from San Francisco Bay Area-based firms has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic as staying and working from home became a necessity. Consequently, Bay Area tech firms are leading the economic recovery and will have even greater growth opportunities for tech enabled services accelerated by the COVID-19 disruption.

The San Francisco Bay Area has the largest tech talent labor pool nationally with 373,430 tech workers, a 16.4% increase from 2015. It ranked No. 1 among U.S. markets for tech talent concentration—the percentage of total employment—which is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is. Tech talent employment accounts for 10.9% of total jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area, almost triple the 3.9% national average.

“Despite headwinds caused by the global pandemic, Bay Area tech employers were able to pivot and respond to new business dynamics, that’s why it remains the global innovation capital,” said Luke Ogelsby. “With tech offices reopening, record venture capital investment and a welcoming IPO market, the Bay Area economy has ample fuel to further extend the rebound already underway for many years to come.”

CBRE added a new feature to this year’s report in analyzing the diversity of tech workforces and identifying underrepresented populations to pursue and develop. Overall, U.S. tech talent professions are predominantly White, Asian and male. Conversely, underrepresented groups in the tech talent ranks are Hispanic, Black and female. While the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech talent was 67% non-white compared to the 43% U.S. average, Hispanic, Black and women remain underrepresented.

“Progress continues to be slow in improving diversity within tech labor pools,” said Colin Yasukochi, Executive Director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center and author of the Tech Talent report. “Increased hiring for purely remote jobs stands to help employers broaden their recruitment of tech talent to include more diverse populations.”

Numerous indicators underscore the resilience of tech talent during COVID-19. These occupations registered job growth of 0.8% in 2020 in the U.S. while non-tech occupations declined by 5.5%. Software developers and programmers were the most in demand tech-job category last year, adding 85,000 U.S. jobs for a 4.8% growth rate from a year earlier. Beyond the tech industry itself, those that added tech workers last year include financial activities, professional & business services, and government.

CBRE’s annual report, now in its ninth year, ranks the top 50 North American markets by analyzing 13 measures of their ability to attract and develop tech talent, including tech graduation rates, tech-job concentration, tech labor pool size, and labor and real estate costs, among others. CBRE also ranks the Next 25 emerging tech markets on a narrower set of criteria. Tech talent is defined as 20 key tech professions -- such as software developers and systems and data managers – across all industries.

The San Francisco Bay Area stood out in the report in a number of other key areas:

• The San Francisco Bay Area average annual tech wage ($144,370) is the highest in North America and has grown 17% over the last five years. The narrower category of software-developer wages averaged $147,747 in the region last year, also the highest among all markets.
• The region produces the fifth most tech graduates in North America with 10,965 tech degree graduates in 2019, a 65.2% increase during the past five years.
• The market ranked first for educational attainment with 51.7% of residents aged 25 and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher (compared to a U.S. average of 33.1%).
• The San Francisco Bay Area also stands out as a top tech job creator. The market ranked seventh for “brain gain,” meaning it added 5,605 more tech jobs than tech graduates over the past five years.
• The region’s millennial population aged 22 to 36 grew by over 14% since 2014. It is also the fourth-most concentrated millennial market, with about one-third of the region’s population in this cohort.
• The average one-year cost for operating a 500-employee tech company occupying 75k sf in the San Francisco Bay Area amounts to $68.6 mil. That ranks as the most expensive among the top 50 tech-talent markets.
• Average office rent is the second most expensive among tech markets. Rents have increased 19% over the last five years. However, the pandemic has caused vacancy rate spikes and rent declines in some of the larger tech markets like the San Francisco Bay Area.


Top Overall North American Tech Markets

2021 Rank / Market / Score

1 Bay Area 86.40
2 Seattle 73.16
3 Washington, DC 65.60
4 Toronto 64.78
5 New York Metro 63.44
6 Boston 62.60
7 Austin 58.87
8 Atlanta 57.78
9 LA/Orange Co. 57.62
10 Ottawa 57.34






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