Study: Dallas Poised to Overtake San Francisco in Tech Talent

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Dallas may well be poised to overtake San Francisco as the top tech talent market say experts from the world’s largest commercial brokerage and information real estate firm, CBRE.

While the tech powerhouse San Francisco Bay Area topped the firm’s 2016 Scoring Tech Talent list of the Top 50 United States and Canadian markets that attract and grow tech talent, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked second in this category. CBRE Senior Vice President Clay Vaughn anticipates North Texas to overtake California’s Silicon Valley and even, Austin.

“When you think of tech in Texas, everyone thinks of Austin. The reality is Dallas has 162,000 jobs. Austin’s only 73,000. So we’re double the size,” said Vaughn to NBC DFW.

Scoring Tech Talent benchmarks how many tech jobs a market created against how many highly-skilled and degreed tech graduates it produced. Between 2010 and 2014, the San Francisco Bay Area had nearly 31,000 tech graduates and 120,550 tech jobs, adding almost 90,000 more jobs than graduates. The second place DFW had 19,129 graduates and 44,620 tech positions, adding 25,500 more jobs than graduates.

The 2016 report pointed out that highly skilled and sought after tech talent may only comprise 3.5 percent of the total U.S. workforce but it is a sector where workers increased 27 percent during the past five years, adding more than one million jobs to the national economy.

The report’s scorecard calculated overall rankings based on 13 metrics including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent costs.

“Cost of living, the cost of doing business, and hopefully, the ability to hire some of the best tech talent in the country” is driving the Texas tech boom,” Vaughn also told NBC DFW.

CBRE researchers also considered high-tech companies the top drivers of U.S. office leasing activity. During the tracked period, DFW office rental costs only increased 15 percent since 2010 to $22.89 per square foot in Q1 2016. Similarly, housing and associated living costs in 2016 listed as $1,209 a month, reflecting a 29 percent increase over the same time period.

On that overall scorecard, the No. 1-5 spots were held by San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York, and Austin. Dallas-Fort Worth took the No. 6 spot followed by Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, and Baltimore. No. 11-15 were Phoenix, Toronto, Chicago, Orange County, CA; and Minneapolis. Rounding out No. 16-20 were San Diego, Detroit, Denver, Newark, and Vancouver. Other Texas cities to make the Top 50 were Houston at No. 30 and San Antonio at No. 45.

While DFW came in as No. 6 on that general listing, it bumped up from No. 11 last year. In other categories, Dallas placed No. 5 for tech talent labor pools of more than 50,000. Austin, in the No. 5 slot this year, ranked No. 8 in the 2015 report. This year, Austin was No. 7 on the Top 10 list of highest educated talent in the tech profession and the No. 10 most concentrated millennial market.

Last year, the Dallas Morning News reported CBRE ranked the DFW’s high-tech employment growth rate from 2010-13 at 16.5 percent, with the third largest tech talent pool in the country, even larger than in the Silicon Valley. Breitbart Texas reported on the Northern California tech stronghold’s vulnerability to Texas as the tech industry booms across the Lone Star State. The San Jose Mercury News described the “entire state of Texas” as “transforming into the new high tech mecca, referencing “innovation” corridors that span from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and into the west Texas tech-driven oil fields plus over to the world’s first privately funded vertical rocket launch site in the Rio Grande Valley.

Thus, Texas has become a formidable state in the high-tech arena. Breitbart Texas reported, in 2015, the state ranked as the top high-tech exporting state, beating California for a third year in a row. Texas IT and software sectors rank No. 1 in foreign direct investments. Approximately two dozen California high tech companies began building or expanding operations in Texas since 2014. Incentives like the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) also makes the state attractive to companies in other states as Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price reported. The TEF also lends to expand existing Texas companies with the goal of creating more state jobs and stirring economic growth.

Last year, CBRE’s Vaughn told the Dallas newspaper: “If Dallas is not on everyone’s Top 10 list now, it will be within five years.”

Follow Merrill Hope, an original member of the Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.


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