Denver Ranks No.10 in CBRE’s Annual ‘Scoring Tech Talent’ Report

CBRE Tech Talent Scorecard Ranking

According to CBRE’s 2023 Scoring Tech Talent report, Metro Denver ranks No. 10 overall, maintaining its position year-over-year as macroeconomic headwinds slowed tech talent hiring by major tech firms in North America.

Overall, the U.S. and Canada added a net 760,000 tech talent jobs since 2020 across established hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle and Vancouver as well as smaller markets like Nashville, Cleveland and Canada’s Waterloo Region. The number of U.S. tech talent workers increased 7.3% from May 2021 to May 2022, which is significantly higher than the 5% growth in total U.S. employment in May 2022. Software developers and programmers across all industries accounted for more than half of the new tech talent employment.

Looking over the past five years, Metro Denver’s tech talent workforce grew by 26%, the 12th-highest growth rate among large tech talent markets. The market, which includes Boulder, saw notably strong growth in its population of the young and educated over a similar period. The number of residents in their 20s with college degrees increased by 31.4% from 2016 to 2021, the second-highest growth rate among U.S. markets behind Tampa. The number of metro Denver residents in their 30s with college degrees increased even faster, up 32%.

“Ranking as a top destination for educated people in their 20s and 30s is incredibly important to a place like Denver that is looking to grow its tech sector. People in their 30s represent the largest workforce demographic overall, and people in their 20s are a major source of innovation,” said Nicholas Weld, first vice president with CBRE’s Tech & Media Practice in Denver. “Employers are pursuing tech talent with specific skills, from quantum computing to biotech and aerospace, all growing fields in Colorado. Continuing to invest in recruiting, retaining and training these highly skilled employees will benefit the local economy and help to stabilize the office market as more companies invest in a presence here.”

CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report covers 75 North American markets, ranks the top 50 tech markets in the U.S. and Canada and outlines tech talent labor market trends amid economic shifts and increased remote hiring. 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 engineers and systems and data managers – across all industries. 

Top 10 North American Tech Talent Markets 

For the first time this year, CBRE’s report examines tech talent wages paid by tech companies based on geography. Metro Denver had the 12th-highest average annual wage for tech talent in the tech industry ($98,109). The San Francisco Bay Area ($185,425) and Seattle ($172,009) had the highest average wages, while Sacramento ($107,580) and Jacksonville ($105,353) were the highest among small markets.

 The Denver-Boulder market stood out in the report in several other key areas:

  • Its tech talent workforce is the 12th largest overall at 125,800. The market added a net of 26,040 tech talent jobs from 2017-2022. 
  • 40.7% of metro Denver’s tech talent is employed in the tech industry. The next-highest share (9.7%) is employed in the finance, insurance and real estate sector (FIRE). 
  • Denver-Boulder is the 13th-13-most-concentrated market in tech talent, representing 6.8% of all employment, above the U.S. average of 5.6%. 
  • The market ranks ninth for engineering-related talent, with 12.8% of all tech jobs in engineering-related roles.
  • Metro Denver ranks seventh for educational attainment with 49.2% of the population age 25+ holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. 
  • Metro Denver’s average one-year cost for running a tech firm, comprehensive of wages and real estate, is the eighth highest among tech talent markets at $55.6 million. Its average office rent ($31.95 per sq. ft.) is the 16 most expensive.

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