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Waterloo EDC Blog

Waterloo vs. Salt Lake City

5 Charts: Waterloo vs. Salt Lake City

Posted by Waterloo EDC on September 30, 2020

This is the fourth edition in a new Waterloo EDC series called “5 Charts: Waterloo Versus” that compares our community with some of America’s top tech hubs. We’ve already matched up against Austin, Texas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio. We will soon take on Phoenix, Arizona and Detroit, Michigan.

We often compare Waterloo’s exceptional tech credentials to other major cities in Canada like Toronto and Montreal, and major US tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York, where the vast majority of tech investment has traditionally landed.

What we haven’t really dug into – until now – is how our ecosystem stacks up against smaller US tech markets that are showing undeniable momentum, like Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Detroit. We’ve scoured our data and are going head-to-head with tech markets across the United States. We’ve already stepped into the ring with Austin, Pittsburgh and Columbus and are now ready to take on Salt Lake City.

You guessed it - the friendly competition continues!

Matchup #4: Waterloo, Canada vs. Salt Lake City, Utah 

Waterloo and Salt Lake City’s similarities make for a good matchup. We have both seen dramatic transformations in our downtown cores, a healthy concentration of millennials that boast more tech degrees when compared to other major cities and a relatively low cost of living.

Quick Facts:

  Waterloo  Salt Lake City
Population  600,000 1,169,000
Nearby Universities 3 12
Total Student Population  77,000+ 250,000
Big Tech
  • Google
  • Shopify
  • OpenText
  • BlackBerry
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • Adobe
  • Microsoft
  • eBay
  • Overstock.com
  • Qualtrics
Total Tech Workforce Growth (5 Years) 51% 42.7%

Round One: Tech Talent Density 

Tech Talent Density Comparison - Waterloo is 8% and Salt Lake City is just above 5%

SOURCES: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent, 2019 
Statistics Canada LFS (NOCS), 2019; US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Metro) April 2019

Waterloo continues to reign supreme with regard to tech talent density, coming out in front of Austin, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

There are a few factors in play that contribute to this impressive density.

First, while we have fewer universities and students, Waterloo is home to Canada’s top technology school, the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo). Second, Canada has some very business-friendly immigration programs that are helping American companies retain global talent. Finally, our community has caught the eye of global tech giants like Google, Shopify and OpenText, and high-growth unicorns like Faire and ApplyBoard.

Combined, you get an exceptional density in a small area.

Round Two: Engineering and Computer Science University Program Sizes

 

Waterloo/Salt Lake City Tech Student Comparison - Waterloo has 14,000 and Salt Lake City has 6,792

SOURCES: The University of Waterloo and the University of Utah 

It’s tough to keep up with the University of Waterloo. UWaterloo is a beacon for world-class engineering and technology talent, ranking globally with schools like Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Stanford – but its tech programs have much higher enrollment.

This comes at no cost to talent quality. Check out these 5 jaw-dropping facts about the University of Waterloo.

Round Three: Research Output 

Waterloo/Salt Lake City research output comparison - Waterloo is 7,000 citations and Salt Lake City is 2,000SOURCE: InCities Dataset; Emerging Sources Citation Index (2016).

What truly makes Waterloo stand out from tech hubs around the world is our research productivity. It’s even more impressive when we compare ourselves to Salt Lake City, where the University of Utah is the nation’s #1 institution for technology commercialization.

Round Four: Rent 

Cost of working space comparisons - Waterloo's office rent costs are 1 million per 75,000 square feet and Salt Lake City is 2 million

SOURCE: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent in North America (2018), Scoring Tech Talent (2018).

Winner: Waterloo, again.

Finding that perfect working space for a reasonable price is a daunting task in most communities. In Waterloo it’s possible to find a space that supports your company’s expansion plans while realizing a significant cost savings.

Round Five: Tech Salaries  

Median tech salaries comparison for Waterloo/Salt Lake City

SOURCE: ERI Salary Assessor (2019).

It’s all Waterloo here, too. Quality of tech talent and significant cost advantages are central to the Waterloo value proposition. In fact, CBRE’s 2019 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent ranked Waterloo 1st in Canada for tech talent quality to cost.

Waterloo’s lower cost of living is a bonus. Our average residential rental prices are almost 26% less than those in Salt Lake City and our average household spend on healthcare is 50% less than SLC. You can do more living for less money in Canada’s fastest growing community.

 

Waterloo has significant advantages in talent, research productivity and cost compared to Salt Lake City. Yes, we are proud of our community, but the numbers speak for themselves. Want more detailed comparisons?

Click here to download a free data-driven U.S. tech markets comparison

Connect with us today to learn more about Waterloo’s incredible tech ecosystem!

 

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Topics: technology, talent, business, artificial intelligence, site selection