Seattle edges NYC in new study of tech-talent markets, behind only San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

A new report from CBRE Research (free registration required) ranks metropolitan Seattle as the third top tech-talent market, edging New York City to rank No. 3, behind the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, D.C.

GeekWire reports on the research. 

CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report uses 13 metrics like number of tech employees, population trends, wages, education levels and housing and business costs to rank the top metro areas for tech.


Seattle passed New York for third this year on the back of a growing, well-paid and well-educated class of tech employees and a strong roster of big companies.

The CBRE Research report is data rich. Again, from GeekWire.

In 2015, the Seattle metro area had 131,660 tech employees. That is up more than 50 percent since 2010. Only 22 percent of them are women.

The report shows a big divide in Seattle between a prosperous tech community and everyone else. Tech workers in Seattle make $110,999 on average, and their wages have increased close to 20 percent since 2010. Only tech workers in San Francisco — average of $123,921 per year — make more than their counterparts in Seattle.

…No city boasts a higher percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees or better than Seattle at 59 percent.

As we’ve reported, tech firms here continue to import talent. Many of those bachelor’s degrees are held by young workers who have moved to the state for the jobs. The influx of tech workers has contributed to rising housing costs. And, CBRE finds Seattle to be the fourth most expensive city for tech firms to operate in.

Being a tech-talent leader positions the region well. City A.M. reports on another tech benchmark.

Technology has stolen a march on finance, with the success of companies such as Alphabet and Microsoft helping the innovative sector surpass the traditional world of financial services among the world’s top 100 companies over the past year.

…The US extended its dominance of the ranking with companies located there making up a 62 per cent share, up from 57 per cent the previous year, or a $314bn increase in value. The top 10 is now made up of entirely US companies, the research noted.

“The US has extended its leading position by using their global reach, financial strength and ability to innovate to their advantage,” said PwC’s head of IPO Centre Clifford Tompsett.

The tech concentration in metro Seattle also undoubtedly plays a role in the state’s increasing urbanization.

In 2016, King and Snohomish counties crossed a threshold: The two now account for more than 40 percent of the state’s population, with a total of 2.9 million residents.

Both have grown significantly faster than most of the state since the 2012 elections. King County increased its population by 7.6 percent, ranking No. 1 in the state for rate of growth. Snohomish County grew by 6.9 percent, coming in third, behind sparsely populated Franklin County.

The growing urbanization of America is the subject of an AP series carried by the Seattle Time, Divided America, which reports,

There are few divides in the United States greater than that between rural and urban places…

While plenty of cities still struggle with endemic poverty and joblessness, a report from the Washington-based Economic Innovation Group found that half of new business growth in the past four years has been concentrated in 20 populous counties.

“More and more economic activity is happening in cities as we move to higher-value services playing a bigger role in the economy,” said Ross Devol, chief researcher at the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank. “As economies advance, economic activity just tends to concentrate in fewer and fewer places.”

We’ve written about the urban-rural split, nationally and in our state, previously. Too many of Washington’ rural counties continue to confront high unemployment. One of our core goals is to promote policies that will expand shared prosperity to all corners of the state. While the urbanization trend is unlikely to reverse itself, there’s no reason that rural communities cannot be economically stable, providing employment and investment opportunities for current and future residents. Our roadmap helps point the way.