Waterloo Region is Canada’s fastest growing region for technology talent and the second-fastest growing region in North America, says the CBRE in its 2017 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report, which was released Thursday.

Waterloo added 8,400 tech jobs from 2011 to 2016, according to the report, a 65.6 percent growth rate, beating out Toronto and Vancouver by a two-to-one margin. Among North American cities, Waterloo Region’s rate of growth was second only to Charlotte, N.C. (77.1 percent).

“Not only is [Waterloo Region] the fastest growing [market in Canada] over the five-year period, it is also the fastest growing market year-over-year, adding 5,600 jobs alone in 2016, an increase of almost a third in a single year,” said Paul Morassutti, Executive Managing Director at CBRE Canada, in a release.

“Even after the fall of BlackBerry, which was once one of Waterloo Region’s top tech employers, the region continues to benefit from [the] clustering of the high-tech industry. Companies such as Shopify are attracted to the collaborative and competitive environment that supports entrepreneurship, innovation and development.”

CBRE, headquartered, in Los Angeles, is one of the world’s largest commercial real estate and investment firms, with more than 75,000 employees worldwide.

Overall, based on a combination of 14 metrics, Toronto scored highest among the 10 Canadian cities listed in the tech talent report, with Waterloo Region fifth, three places higher than last year.

“The talent, breadth of companies to work for, education system and support for technology make Waterloo an amazing place to build a company,” said Loren Padelford, Vice-President and General Manager of Shopify’s Waterloo operation. “This is precisely why we chose to start and grow Shopify Plus [in Waterloo Region].

“I think, like proper Canadians, the Waterloo community is too modest about its success and potential. Reports like this help get the word out about all the great things happening here, which we need. But we need to take it and run. We need to get a whole lot better at telling our story in a way people understand, and having support from reports like this helps a lot.”

As a whole, the CBRE said Canada added 138,300 tech jobs between 2011 and 2016, an increase of 21.7%, 34,500 of which were added in 2016.

The CBRE additionally produces a North America-wide talent report, the latest version of which appeared last July.

About The Author

Craig Daniels
Senior Journalist

Craig Daniels is a veteran reporter, columnist and editor who has joined Communitech’s editorial team as senior journalist. He worked most recently at Postmedia in Hamilton, where he led the team that produced the National Post, and before that at the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Sun, Financial Post, the Montreal Daily News and the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, N.B. He has an abiding interest in the transformational power and promise of tech and startup ecosystems, is a commercially licensed pilot, and has a debilitating wrist-watch fetish.