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Edmonton makes Top 50 list for tech talent in North America for first time, Calgary climbs 6 spots


Edmonton has cracked the Top 50 list for tech talent and sector growth in North America for the first time.

The city is rated 38th overall for its ability to attract, retain, and grow technology industry professionals, according to real estate organization CBRE’s Scoring Tech Talent report released on Tuesday.

CBRE says Edmonton’s tech occupations grew by more than 50 per cent in the last five years, the largest increase in all of the 50 markets rated by the organization.

Computer support, database and systems-related occupations in the city saw the largest growth over the past five years. CBRE said those fields saw a 22.3 per cent growth while tech engineering-related positions saw an 11.9 per cent growth.

Edmonton had 34,500 total tech professionals employed in 2020. CBRE said 12,000 tech-related jobs have been added in the city since 2015.

Eight Canadian cities were on the list, including Calgary at 28 and Quebec City at 34. Toronto was the only Canadian city in the Top 5.

“North American tech-talent employment weathered the pandemic better than most other professions due to demand for tech to facilitate continued remote work, robust e-commerce growth and streaming services,” CBRE said in a press release. “This resilience is setting the stage for strong tech job growth amid the economic recovery.”

CBRE ranks the Top 50 North American markets by measuring 13 factors including ability to attract and develop talent, the number of graduates from tech-related fields, diversity ratios, and tech labour pool sizes.

“Big tech markets will gain from their established pipelines of tech graduates and many workers’ return to city centers,” said Todd Husak, CBRE’s managing director for tech and media, in a statement.

“Smaller markets will reap benefits from their cost advantages in labor and real estate as well as the tech industry’s embrace of remote work for certain employees.”


Bradley Poulette, CEO of Air Trail, says the tech community has grown over the years in Edmonton because of the University of Alberta.

"We have one of the world's leading universities when it comes to technical education," Poulette said. "We're leading the world in machine learning and artificial intelligence research. The people coming to our institutions are top-notch world-class people and the research that they're doing is similarly top-notch, world-class."

According to Poulette, now is the time for entrepreneurs to start a tech company or become interested in the sector.

"Start the company," Poulette said. "We have so many more resources for young people today starting companies than we did even five years ago."

Myrna Bittner, CEO of start-up RWI Synthetics, told CTV News Edmonton that almost 85 per cent of her staff comes from the U of A.

"A whole diversity of companies have been able to grow and succeed in Edmonton," Bittner said. "We have been forced because of the small local market to really become international companies very quickly. Then we bring that international perspective back to Edmonton." Top Stories


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