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Victoria Makes Another Major Leap on National Tech Talent Survey

Victoria Makes Another Major Leap on National Tech Talent Survey

The CBRE 2019 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report, released November 25, 2019, ranks Victoria as the 7th strongest tech hub in Canada. 

This recognition marks a three-spot ranking improvement in position from last year's 10th place ranking and a huge leap from 2017 where Victoria was not even listed. In one year’s time, Victoria’s tech community has climbed to the upper echelon, trailing only Canada’s biggest cities and outperforming a slew of cities with larger populations. 

The report, which ranks Canadian cities on competitive advantages and appeal to tech workers and employers found that nationally “the country is attracting both tech talent and companies at record rates,” celebrating the Canadian tech market as an “unprecedented good news story.” Tech talent in Canada has seen amazing growth in the past five years, seeing 161,700 jobs added from 2013 to 2018. Victoria, in particular, has seen its talent pool grow by 1,300 in the same five-year span.

In an interview with the Times Colonist, VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn applauded Victoria’s success in the categories of quality of available talent, opportunity and relative value.

“Not that long ago, people didn’t think of Victoria as a tech city, but now anyone looking at this will see that there are the biggest cities in the country ahead of us, but we are the No. 1 small market city in the nation and one of the strongest in North America,” he said. “It’s great news. We are part of the conversation and we’ve been invited to the party.”

Major Canadian cities continue to attract global and domestic companies - specifically U.S firms that are intentionally expanding to Canada over other US cities. The report sites the accessibility of highly educated Canadian tech talent, and cost competitiveness as incentivizing this Canadian preference. The report recognized that smaller markets, like Victoria’s, share these appealing incentives and are “nurturing burgeoning tech sectors.”

The CBRE 2019 Canadian Tech Talent Report comes on the heels of the CBRE Tech-30 report that announced Vancouver, BC as the top market for high-tech job growth in North America, topping out at 29.5% growth over the past two years. The report, published in late October, “explores the high-tech industry’s impact on office space in the 30 leading tech markets, as well as 10 up-and-coming tech markets in the U.S. and Canada”. More good news for BC, and for neighbouring Victoria. The lower the vacancy rates are, and the tighter the real estate market gets in high-tech centres like Vancouver and Seattle, the more companies will start to look at alternative and adjacent sub-markets like Victoria. 

With shorter commutes, more affordable housing, a lower cost of living, a comparable lifestyle and better weather than Vancouver, Victoria is well-poised to grow existing businesses and attract new businesses to the region. With a population of skilled talent aged 25-34, 45,000+ post-secondary students, nine national research centres, and a high-tech industry growing at rates higher than the country average, Victoria is emerging as a tech market worth noticing.

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