In a recent report, CBRE has scored tech talent in 20 Canadian cities, including Waterloo. This report looks at labour market conditions, cost and quality of high-skilled tech workers, and cities were ranked according to their competitive advantages and appeal to tech-talent workers and tech employers.
When it comes to the balance of labour cost and quality, Waterloo is in a league of its own.
We know that Waterloo has significant cost advantages over other top tech communities in Canada and the United States. It is easily measured using available salary statistics. We also know that Waterloo has an excellent talent pipeline since our community is home to the University of Waterloo, where you’ll find Canada’s #1 engineering program and #2 computer science program.
Measuring labour quality isn’t quite so easy, but CBRE presents a useful model. Here’s how they define “quality” in the report:
“Concentration of software engineers/developers with 3+ years of experience that have earned degrees from the Top 25 Computer Information Science programs in the US and Canada as rated by US News, 2018.”
When CBRE mapped out Canadian cities using software wages and labour quality, this was the result:
This really highlights the advantage that Waterloo can give to tech companies looking for great talent at reasonable costs. If a company is in a high-cost area, like Toronto in Canada or San Francisco in the US, it can limit that company’s capacity for growth. In fact, we know tech start-ups are starting to leave Silicon Valley – with their investors backing the decision – to come to places like Waterloo, where growth isn’t hindered by exorbitant costs.
Similarly, local companies like Vidyard, North, Kik, Auvik Networks, Axonify, HockeyTech and many more are able to leverage this advantage to scale their companies quickly, at lower cost, while hiring high-quality and experienced tech professionals.
How do we keep our labour costs down?
Our cost-of-living is very competitive. The rent-to-tech-wage ratio, as CBRE calculates it, has Waterloo near the bottom of the pack – this means as a tech worker you get more for less in Waterloo, and the same holds true for employers. For example, in Toronto, the average condo payment is $2,124 and the median home price is $764,800, but in Waterloo those numbers are $1,269 and $493,727, respectively. As Figure 16B from the report illustrates, only 18% of the average tech wage goes to condo costs in Waterloo, versus over 30% in Toronto.
If you’re a tech worker, this cost-of-living advantage means you can live more for less money. If you have a family the dream of a house with a yard for your kids to play in isn’t out of reach. If you’re an employer, this cost-of-living advantage means you can make sure your workforce has a high quality of life while ensuring that your company gets a competitive edge on salary. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your company quickly and without breaking the bank, or an ex-pat interested in repatriating your company, this combination of talent cost and quality is an excellent reason to join us in Waterloo.
Want to read more from CBRE? You can find the whole report here.
Have specific questions about how Waterloo can help your tech company compete? Email Catharine Gerhard today for answers.