Access to top-tier universities is helping Vancouver edge out other cities as a global tech hub.
Vancouver ranks as the No. 7 tech city in the world, higher than any other city outside the U.S., according to British price-comparison website Money.co.uk.
Rankings are based on job earnings, the number of successful startups to come from the city and the pedigree of local universities. Denver; Washington, D.C.; and New York City top the list in that respective order.
“It’s not just potential employment in the tech sector that might draw people to a particular city but also education,” the Jan. 25 report stated.
“Looking at the universities highlighted by QS World University Rankings for their tech degrees, the city with the highest average score [83.3] is Vancouver, which is home to the University of British Columbia.”
L.A. follows Vancouver with an 80.2 score for tech education, while Toronto ranks notably lower at 73.8.
And while much of the last year saw unicorn after unicorn emerge from the tech landscape, Vancouver still trails most of its competitors with 0.19 unicorns — tech companies with valuations of at least US$1 billion — per 100,000 people.
That’s comparable to No. 8 ranked L.A. (0.20) but dwarfed by No. 4 ranked Boston (2.01) and No. 6 ranked San Francisco (14.94).
Meanwhile, the report determined Vancouver is home to 21 startups per 100,000 people.
Remarkably, the report pegs the median annual salary for IT workers in Vancouver at US$101,293.
That’s higher than the US$92,500 such workers earn in Seattle, home to global tech giants Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT).
Telus Corp. (TSX:T), with a headcount of 8,000 workers in B.C., is B.C.’s largest tech employer.
CBRE’s 2021 Scoring Tech Talent report found the average tech worker in Vancouver earned US$66,485 the previous year — the fourth-lowest salary among 50 North American cities examined. The same worker in Seattle would have earned nearly double with US$126,730, according to CBRE.
The Money.co.uk report calculated average salary for tech jobs based on data from website Salary Explorer.