With 7 Canadian cities well-positioned in the latest CBRE rankings, this is a testament to the impressive momentum this sector has been gathering over the past five years and the attractiveness of Canadian markets for growing tech companies. Vancouver jumped three spots in the ranking to take #8, adding 45,560 jobs in that same five-year period, 63% growth, the highest percentage of all 50 ranked markets.
Vancouver's Tech Market:
In 2021, Vancouver's tech talent totalled 115,400 employees, showing no signs of slowing down. With average wages at $71,268, a higher salary than Toronto, tech talent continues to flock to Vancouver. Rebounding from pandemic restrictions quickly, British Columbia continues to be a bullish market, with offices open for business as usual and moving faster than provinces in the East.
Pre-Pandemic to Present Time:
"Pre-pandemic, Vancouver was the go-to market for a lot of international companies. Its West Coast lifestyle makes it the ideal place to hire and retain staff and do business," said CBRE Vice Chairman for the High Technology Facilities Group (HTFG), Blair Quinn. "COVID-19 has been a huge accelerator for certain sectors, whether that be clean energy, animation, life science, content, film, or technology. This is a good thing for tenants, and a lot less pressure."
Vancouver's 7% office vacancy rate downtown is the strongest in North America. Pre-pandemic, it was at an unbalanced low vacancy rate of 2.2% where little to no options existed in a healthy way due to constraints, especially during an inflation era. The current vacancy rate is much more balanced thanks to more space options and variety that were direct outcomes of the pandemic, something that the city and involved companies have not witnessed in this market previously.
Future Tech Trends:
Trend-wise, we are seeing that both work from home and the office are here to stay, leading most companies to adopt a hybrid model. The next "it" area in Vancouver outside of the downtown core is False Creek – although newly established, this area is quickly proving to be a hot opportunity for the tech market to grow over the coming years, especially the Mount Pleasant area. "Another trend that's becoming more evident, is the idea of "we spaces", not "I spaces," said Quinn. "Not only are we seeing the resurfacing of drop-in spaces as the rise of influencers continues, but the potential for Vancouver in the tech market is also enormous." Despite common misconceptions, potential doesn't necessarily have to be marked by large conglomerates moving into town. For every big name, Vancouver has 10-30 local thriving small businesses that are equally as vital to the tech boom.
Though the industry faces some very real, short-term cyclical challenges, the evidence suggests the technology sector will continue to drive outsized growth as our knowledge-based economy expands.
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