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Boston is nation’s top tech-talent exporter

Patrick Thibodeau | July 8, 2016
San Francisco leads in tech hiring, says new report on U.S. tech labor market

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The San Francisco Bay Area added 120,500 tech jobs in the last five years, for a growth rate of 61.5% percent. Major U.S. cities, generally, all saw double-digit growth in tech employment, according to a new report.

There is a fair chance that good number of San Francisco's tech workers came from the Boston area, according this study, 2016 Scoring Tech Talent by CBRE, a real estate services firm.

This report puts the nation's tech population at 4.8 million, and says tech employment has grown by about 1 million over the last five years. Of this total, 37% work for tech companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple. The balance is made up of people employed outside the tech sector, in industries such as banking and healthcare.

tech labor pool CBRE 

The total tech labor pool, the five-year growth rate, the increase over five years and the concentration of tech workers in the overall labor force.

The San Francisco area has nearly 317,000 tech workers, which make up 10% of all jobs in this region. It's followed by the Washington D.C. area at 241,230 jobs, a growth rate of 24% over the last five years.

Boston was 10th on this list of top technology employment markets, with 111,290 tech workers. It had the smallest growth rate, of 13%.

But Boston also saw the largest "brain drain" of tech workers, some 17,225, according to CBRE.

What CBRE did was to look at how many technology-related degrees were produced over a five-year period, and then matched it against how many tech jobs were created in that same market, said Colin Yasukochi, the director of research and analysis at CBRE and the report's author.

Boston is producing "more degrees than jobs," said Yasukochi.

For employers, Boston ought to be a place to recruit workers as well as a place to establish an office, said Yasukochi.

Boston's talent pool is a leading reason General Electric recently announced plans to move its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston.

Some other cities that produce more technology grads than jobs include Phoenix, which saw a brain drain of 12,500 over five years. In Los Angeles, it was 11,156, and for Pittsburgh this figure was nearly 10,000.

Labor costs are the most dominant cost for tech companies, said Yasukochi. In San Francisco Bay area the average payroll cost for 250 people totaled nearly $31 million. In New York, number two on the list of most expensive cities, it was $26.5 million. But if you are willing to locate in Charlotte, N.C., the 20th most expensive city, this same 250-person payroll will cost $23 million.


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