Toronto is the fastest growing tech market in North America
According to the CBRE, Toronto is the fastest growing tech market in North America, which is contributing strongly to the record low office space vacancy rate.
“We’ve had 30% growth in the tech sector over the last five years and we added more jobs than San Francisco and New York City combined last year,” says Werner Dietl, CBRE Canada’s executive vice-president and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) regional managing director on Renx.ca. “We have affordability and a tremendously high quality of labour, and we also have tremendous government and immigration policies in place that are creating a little bit of a snowball effect.”
In CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report, Toronto placed 6th out of 50 cities, moving up six spots from last year. 22,500 tech jobs were created in Toronto from 2015 to 2016. Overall, Toronto has the 4th largest tech talent market in North America with 212,000 workers. That’s 8% of Toronto’s employment force in 2016.
In addition to the rich talent pool, tech firms are eyeing Toronto because the low dollar makes operations more affordable. Over the last five years, the demand for office space from the tech industry has doubled, bringing Toronto’s vacancy rate down to 3.8% in the second quarter 2017.
“One of the interesting shifts that we saw a few years ago when Google moved into the financial core was that other tech companies followed in its footsteps into what we would call more traditional office space,” Dietl says. “The downtown financial core is no longer just for banks and law firms. Tech is really starting to come into that node and we expect more of that to follow.”
At the University of Toronto and the Vector Institute, artificial intelligence research is picking up momentum. “Toronto is becoming known as a world leader in artificial intelligence,” explains Dietl. “And when you’re a world leader in anything, that tends to attract people.”
It looks like more tech firms and more of the world’s greatest talent will be moving to Toronto to develop the future of how we live day to day. The prominence of smart technology and artificial intelligence is making it more crucial than ever before to have access to affordable, reliable, and fast Internet.
Even in Canada’s largest city, there are still neighbourhoods that aren’t connected to high speed Internet. How are these families and young working professionals supposed to progress in their lives if they can’t compete due to a lack of connectivity? The issue is even more pressing in rural areas.
As Toronto continues to grow as a leader in the tech industry, I hope that surrounding areas see it as a sign of the need to keep up with respect to fibre-optic broadband networks and other high-speed options.