Each year, we eagerly anticipate CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report. The report ranks 50 cities throughout North America and provides a score, positioning each tech talent market against its competitors. Cities throughout Canada consistently rank in the top 10, with Toronto rounding out the top five year after year and moving up to the 3rd overall spot in 2022.
As we read through this year’s report, we began to think about the many reasons why – what is it that makes Toronto stand out so much? From our postsecondary institutions to our open immigration policies and sizeable tech market, the Toronto tech talent scene is made up of a crucial combination of elements that help put us on the map and cement our status as a major player in the global tech community.
Underpinning Toronto’s tech talent ranking is the combination of our top ranked postsecondary institutions and our young, highly educated workforce. It’s no secret that Toronto produces some of the best talent in the world, and it’s all thanks to our exceptional universities and colleges. According to the World University rankings for 2022 by Higher Times Education, the University of Toronto continues to rank in the top 20. In fact, U of T was ranked #18 on the list this year. International students also play a major role in the equation, and at U of T they make up 25 percent of the total student population.
Tech companies around the world continue to choose Toronto because they can rely on STEM grads from U of T and the 10 additional postsecondary institutions located in our region – 18 throughout the Province of Ontario. Almost 44 percent of Toronto residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree and the province of Ontario produces 63,500 STEM grads each year. According to CBRE, over 30 percent of Toronto’s population is in their 20s and 30s, making us one of the largest Gen Z and Millennial populations in North America. This factor, combined with the region’s large international student population (many of whom remain in Toronto after graduation to enter the workforce) are both major contributors when it comes to scoring highly in tech talent across North America.
Canada’s welcoming attitude towards immigration continues to benefit the wider tech community and plays a key role in our region’s ranking. Ontario receives almost half of total yearly admissions to the country, with close to 45 percent in 2020. As we welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year (according to the 2021 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration) Toronto is set to grow immensely by 2024, further enriching the talent and diversity of the region. Of the core working age population in Canada, one quarter is made up of immigrants. We cannot speak about the Toronto tech talent market without acknowledging the skilled immigrants and the important role that they play.
As overall costs continue to rise, finding the right balance between quality and cost – not to mention availability – is extremely important. Toronto is a popular location for tech companies of all shapes and sizes, so it’s increasingly important that we not only provide talent, but also ensure that the quality is top notch and that it comes at a cost that is competitive. This continues to be the case as our region is compared to others around North America. The critical balance between quality, cost, and availability ensures good value for money in our region.
But don’t just take our word for it – some of the most promising start-ups and tech giants have realized how large the tech scene is in Toronto and have already made moves to take advantage of our offerings. Within the past year, companies such as Groq, Cloudfare, Walmart, Reddit, and Wayfair all announced plans to set up tech operations and hire tech talent from the Toronto Region. Toronto is Canada’s largest technology hub and we are home to the third largest talent pool in North America, ahead of Seattle and Washington, D.C. In this year’s CBRE Scoring Tech Talent Report, Toronto had the largest tech talent growth by adding 88,900 tech jobs between 2016-2021. It’s no surprise that companies would want to invest in talent from here.
Although we are approaching economic headwinds for the year ahead with layoffs and hiring freezes across the tech industry, there are many companies outside the high-tech sector that look toward hiring our high-quality tech talent. In a recent article from the Financial Post, many employees from Wealthsimple’s layoff spreadsheet – a list of employees laid off amid market volatility – have been snatched quickly after the spreadsheet circulated through social media. Although nearly half of Toronto’s tech talent works within the core high-tech industry, industries such as manufacturing, professional services, and government inevitably hire tech workers, as technology is an integral part of today’s society.
Yet again, Toronto had a great year in tech and credit must be given to the strong ecosystem that supported the growth in our talent pipeline. As technology advances, our postsecondary institutions, open immigration policies and supportive accelerators and incubators will continue to contribute to our tech talent growth, which is ultimately why Toronto is ranked in the Top 3 in this year’s CBRE Scoring Tech Talent Report.
If you are actively hiring in the Toronto Region, our team at Toronto Global is ready to help. Reach out to us today to realize the many advantages of hiring Toronto talent.
Co-authored by Toronto Global’s Ellen Mitchell and Sophia Chea.