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Expand chart
Data: CBRE; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

There are emerging hubs all over the U.S. and Canada pulling tech talent away from the superstar cities — but the tech centers are holding onto their dominance, according to a new analysis from the commercial real estate firm CBRE.

The big picture: The pandemic has pushed millions of people to move out of cities, but it hasn't been enough to knock places like the Bay Area and New York out of the top spots to start tech companies.

Between the lines: Among the top 10 markets — with tech talent pools well over 150,000 people — the San Francisco and Toronto metro areas have the highest concentration of workers. About 11% of the Bay Area workforce is in tech, and the same is true for Toronto.

  • Compare that with the 3.8% and 3.7% concentrations in New York and Los Angeles, respectively.
  • A high concentration of tech workers can create environments more conducive to innovation, says Colin Yasukochi, executive director of CBRE's tech insights center and author of this report.

Several cities — large and small — saw huge gains in their tech talent pools in the last five years.

  • Among the big metros, Toronto's pool grew by 43%, Seattle's by 35% and Montreal's by 31%.
  • Among the small ones, Orlando, Florida, saw a 30% gain; Nashville, Tennessee, 36%, and Edmonton, Canada, 53%.

Worth noting: Three of the cities with the biggest gains are in Canada. As we've reported, there was a steady "brain drain" from the U.S. to Canada in the age of Trump as Canada took advantage of America's hardline immigration policies to pull away talent.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A Hard Truths event on the tech industry

On Tuesday, October 19th, Axios Editor-in-Chief Sara Kehaulani Goo and chief technology correspondent Ina Fried examined the current inequities within hiring practices, workplace culture and development in the tech industry today, featuring Girls Who Code CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett and TechEquity Collaborative founder & CEO Catherine Bracy.

Dr. Tarika Barrett explained how to engage and empower young girls to learn tech skills, how the pandemic exacerbated access to educational tools, and how big tech companies can address the industry’s gender gap.

  • On empowering the next generation of tech leaders: “Having more representation of women and people of color in tech in particular, can actually be the difference we need to empower a pipeline of young people and girls of color to pursue the tech careers of the future.”
  • On the gender gap in the tech industry: “As we are simultaneously addressing this growing gender gap in tech and trying to prepare our girls and young women for these thriving, exciting careers of the future, we also know that it’s within an industry that continues to sometimes be the source of negative news and troubling instances of discrimination.”

Catherine Bracy highlighted how tech platforms and their business models affect the broader economic well-being of a community, and the importance of improving working conditions for different tiers of workers at tech companies.

  • On inequities for contracted employees at tech companies: “We have done research that shows that not only are they treated differently because of labor laws and whatever else, but they are also more likely to be members of underrepresented minority groups.”
  • On how tech companies can better support contracted workers: “We do think that if they’re going to contract out, that they should ensure with the vendors that they’re using to provide this workforce, that those workers have an equal level of protection, benefits, stability as their full-time workforce. I feel like that’s the least that they can do.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Goldman Sachs Chief Operating Officer for Global Investment Research Gizelle George-Joseph, who spoke about how structural barriers affect labor market opportunities for minority communities.

  • “We talk about education, and six decades after Brown vs. Board of Education, 70% of Black students still attend a school where the majority of students are non-white. All of these have really broad repercussions for Black women and very large negative impacts on college graduation rates, on the labor market, and ultimately on our life outcomes.”

Thank you Goldman Sachs for sponsoring this event.

Chicago tech salaries are lowish but rising

Expand chart
Data: Hired.com; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Despite a decade of municipal efforts to build up Chicago as a Midwest Silicon Valley, local tech salaries lag behind many of the top cities in the nation.

Oct 19, 2021 - Technology

Tarika Barrett: U.S. tech industry must become "more equitable"

Photo: Axios

The technology industry must become more equitable if it intends to solve its diversity problem, Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code, said at an Axios virtual event on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tech companies in the United States face a national reckoning on the lack of diversity in their workforce, with Black representation across Google, Facebook and Microsoft making up less than 7% of the workforce.