Demand For Tech Workers is Driving Office Market Momentum in Salt Lake, Says New CBRE Report Ranking Top 50 U.S. “Tech Talent” Markets

Pete CodellaAccolades

Tech talent clustering is a growing driver of demand for office space in both large and small markets across the U.S., according to a new CBRE Research report, “Scoring Tech Talent” which ranks 50 U.S. markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent. Salt Lake ranks at number #25 on the list, and in the top five of small markets with a tech talent base of less than 50,000.

While established tech markets like San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle dominated the top spots on the “Tech Talent Scorecard,” many smaller, up-and-coming markets stood out as top “momentum markets” based on tech talent growth rates. Oklahoma City and Nashville had a tech talent growth rate of 39 percent between 2010 and 2013, higher than Seattle (38 percent) and just below that of San Francisco (44 percent) and Baltimore (42 percent). Portland, OR, and Charlotte both saw tech talent growth rates of 28 percent, outpacing well-known tech markets like Austin (26.5 percent), Silicon Valley (20.8 percent) and Los Angeles (13.6 percent). Salt Lake’s tech talent growth rate from 2010-2013 was 13.0 percent.

“Tech talent growth rates are the best indicator of labor pool momentum and it’s easily quantifiable to identify the markets where demand for tech workers has surged,” said Colin Yasukochi, director research and analysis for CBRE. “Tech talent growth, primarily within the high-tech industry, has recently been the top driver of office leasing activity in the U.S.” Though tech talent comprises only 3.4 percent of the total U.S. workforce (4.4 million workers), the high-tech industry accounted for more major U.S. office leasing activity than any sector in both 2013 (13.6 percent) and 2014 (19.0 percent), according to the CBRE report.

“For the past two years, the high-tech industry has not only spurred the economy as a whole, but it has been the top driver of commercial office activity, influencing rents and vacancy in major markets across the U.S., including Salt Lake,” said Tab Cornelison, Senior Vice President, who leads CBRE’s Tech and Media Practice in Salt Lake. “We need to CBRE Press Release look no farther than the Silicon Slopes area to see just how much of an influence the tech industry has had on the state. According to the Utah Technology Council, 8.6 percent of Utah’s workforce is in the tech industry, and for every tech-related job, up to five additional jobs are created. Technology is definitely impacting the Salt Lake market in a positive way.”

The top 10 large markets on the Tech Talent Score Card (identified as markets with a
talent pool above 50,000 tech professionals) were:
1. Silicon Valley, CA
2. Washington, D.C.
3. San Francisco, CA
4. San Francisco Peninsula, CA
5. New York, NY
6. Seattle, WA
7. Boston, MA
8. Baltimore, MD
9. Austin, TX
10.Atlanta, GA

Dallas, Orange County, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham took the 11, 12, 13 and 14 spots on the list, before a small market—defined as a market with a tech talent labor pool of less than 50,000—made its way onto the list. The top ranked small markets included:
15. Oakland, CA
16. Edison, NJ
23. Columbus, OH
25. Salt Lake City, UT
26. Portland, OR
27. Newark, NJ
29. Long Island, NY
30. Kansas City, MO
31. Charlotte, NC
33. Cincinnati, OH

The report also looked at which markets present the greatest cost for occupiers based on wages paid to employees and rent paid for office space. CBRE Research combined these two costs for a “typical” 500-person tech firm needing 75,000 sq. ft. of office space for each market and found that for large markets, Silicon Valley is the highest cost and Detroit is the lowest cost. For smaller markets, Oakland is the highest cost and Oklahoma City is the lowest cost. The Salt Lake market has the eighth-lowest cost overall.

The CBRE report also identified various characteristics that are shared by tech talent

  • Gender Diversity: The U.S. average breakdown for tech talent occupations is 76.2
    percent male and 23.8 percent female. Half of tech talent markets have a greater
    concentration of women in these occupations when compared with the U.S.
    average, but the numbers are still imbalanced. The most gender-diverse tech talent
    market is Philadelphia, where females occupy 31 percent of tech talent occupations.
  • Education: Nearly 75 percent of the top 50 tech talent markets have an educational
    attainment rate above the national average. New York, Washington, D.C. and Los
    Angeles topped the list for the most tech degrees completed in a two-year period.
    When it comes to small markets, Columbus was the standout in this area, besting
    large markets like Dallas/Ft. Worth and Philadelphia in the number of tech degrees
    completed in the last two years. These numbers are an indication of future tech
    talent growth.
  • Millennials: The presence of millennials in the workforce has contributed to the
    growth of tech talent labor pools. In Boston, millennials make up more than 25
    percent of the total population. In Washington, D.C., the millennial population has
    increased by 26.5 percent since 2009. In the Salt Lake market, millennials make up
    20.4 percent of the population. The U.S. average is 14.0 percent.
    “Though highly concentrated within the high-tech services industry, tech talent is not limited
    to any one type of company and can be found across all industry sectors. In fact, more
    than 60 percent of tech talent jobs are located outside of the core high-tech industry and
    these workers help generate innovation and advances that can boost the whole economy,
    including the commercial real estate market,” said Yasukochi.

To view the interactive report, please visit

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue). The Company has more than 52,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 370 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at

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