DC area ranks third nationwide in report on tech talent

The D.C. area is one of the most educated metropolitan areas in the country, has one of the highest concentrations of STEM professionals and has a diverse IT workforce. All of those things, and more, rank the D.C. region third on commercial real estate firm CBRE’s annual “Scoring Tech Talent” report covering North American cities.

The D.C. region has the fourth-largest tech talent labor pool in North America, with more than 265,000 tech workers, a 10% increase from 2015. The D.C. region also has the sixth-highest concentration of tech talent as a percentage of the total workforce, at 8.8%.

CBRE says factors such as the size and concentration of a market’s talent labor pool are key indicators of a region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“With its large tech labor pool and ample supply of highly educated tech talent, the D.C. region is poised to become one of the largest tech growth markets in the next five to 10 years,” said Meredith LaPier, with CBRE’s tech and media practice in metro D.C. “This anticipated growth will be buoyed by D.C.’s infrastructure around housing and transit capacity.”

The D.C. area ranks second for tech educational attainment, with 51.4% of adults obtaining bachelor’s degrees or higher, and the region is also the most gender-diverse tech talent market, with females comprising 32.3% of the tech talent workforce, compared to 27% nationally.

There is a downside for technology-related companies in the area: It ranks fourth-highest for expenses of operating a tech company. CBRE says the average one-year cost for operating a 500-employee tech company occupying 75,000 square feet in the D.C. area is $55.8 million.

The tech industry overall weathered the pandemic better than most. Those occupations registered job growth of 0.8% in 2020 in the U.S., while non-tech occupations declined by 5.5%. The strongest IT job growth category last year were software developers and programmers, adding 85,000 jobs in the U.S. last year, a 4.8% job growth rate.

CBRE’s top five markets in North America on its Scoring Tech Talent report are:

  1. San Francisco Bay area
  2. Seattle
  3. Washington, D.C. metro
  4. Toronto
  5. New York metro

Its full tech talent report is posted online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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