Boston is nation's top tech-talent exporter

San Francisco leads in tech hiring, says a new report on the U.S. tech labor market

Boston is nation's top tech-talent exporter
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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 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 percent 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 CBRE 2016 Scoring Tech Talent report

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 percent of all jobs in this region. It's followed by the Washington D.C. area at 241,230 jobs, a growth rate of 24 percent 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 percent.

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.

The rising costs in the large markets will help the smaller markets, Yasukochi said.

The number one small tech labor market was Kansas City, Missouri, with a tech labor force at 48,500 and a five-year growth rate of 42 percent. It was closely followed by Charlotte, N.C., at just over 47,000, but at a growth rate of 75 percent.

What do Kansas City and Charlotte have in common?

Lower cost and availability of talent were factors shared by each city, said Yasukochi. But both cities have also invested in high-speed broadband networks, "which has had a major impact on stimulating technology growth" in those two markets, he said.

The Kansas City area was the first Google Fiberlocation in the nation. Charlotte is getting Google Fiber as well.

This story, "Boston is nation's top tech-talent exporter" was originally published by Computerworld.

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