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The 13 best-value cities for hiring tech talent

Sarah K. White | Aug. 30, 2017
With low business costs and strong talent labor markets, these U.S. and Canadian cities offer the best bang for your hiring buck.

The 13 best-value cities for hiring tech talent

Companies seeking the best bang for their hiring buck can find strong talent at moderate rates — if they know where to look. And, when operating costs are taken into account, staffing and maintaining an office in just the right city can provide a significant cost — and strategic — advantage.

CBRE Research’s 2017 Scoring Tech Talent report measured labor quality, business costs and other stats that impact hiring. The report looked at the “number and concentration of software engineers with three or more years of experience” that have graduated from one of the top 25 computer science programs in the U.S. and Canada. Cross-referencing that data with the cities ranked for the lowest overall cost for rent and wage, these 23 cities came out on top as your best bets to make affordable hires of high-quality tech talent.

The report points out that there aren’t standardized metrics to measure the quality of a labor market, but as tech salaries continue to rise, businesses are more focused than ever on making quality hires. The most expensive cities to operate in — San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle — are home to “exceptional” tech talent. However, in these 23 other cities, you’ll find cheaper operating costs and a tech labor market that ranks “very high” in quality, according to CBRE.

Vancouver, B.C.

The best bang for your buck is in Vancouver, B.C., where the total estimated cost for rent and wages is just over $24 million per year for 500 employees in a 75,000 square-foot office. While the U.S. dollar is strong, Vancouver offers strong value to U.S. businesses looking for quality talent. It’s the cheapest city to operate in across every category and the city has seen a nearly 13 percent increase in total tech occupations since 2011, whereas non-tech occupations grew only 8.5 percent in the same time.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,720,866 (annual for 75,000 sqft)
  • Average tech talent wage: $45,501
  • Average support non-tech wage: $40,217
  • Average management wage: $71,862

Toronto, Ont.

Once again, thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar, Toronto is one of the most affordable cities to operate in with quality tech talent. The total estimated cost of operation is around $26 million per year for an office of 500 employees, making it the second cheapest city to operate in. In Toronto, more than 32 percent of the workforce holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the city has seen nearly 15 percent growth in total tech occupations since 2011.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,913,318
  • Average tech talent wage: $47,210
  • Average support non-tech wage: $43,702
  • Average management wage: $78,460

Indianapolis, Ind.


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