Seattle is now one of the top two tech markets in the nation, according to a new report from real estate services company CBRE, behind only San Francisco, thanks to booming homegrown companies and a vast roster of out-of-town companies setting up shop here to recruit the city’s highly educated talent base.
CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report uses 13 metrics like number of tech employees, population trends, wages, education levels, housing and business costs to rank the top metro areas for tech. Seattle came in third last year behind San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
“With the number of projects and moves on the horizon and a clear desire from both tech workers and corporations that are either willing to move or expand here, Seattle continues to be a desirable market for technology companies nationwide, driven by both the jobs that are being created in the market and the strong talent base coming out of the region,” said Matt Walters, first vice president with CBRE’s Technology and Media Practice Group in Seattle.
Seattle is the most educated market in the nation according to the report, with 62.1 percent of all residents over 25 possessing at least a bachelor’s degree. Also high on the list is Portland, at fourth, with 48.6 percent of its residents holding a college degree.
The report shows there are 136,910 tech jobs in Seattle, a 33 percent increase since 2011, and these workers are well-paid, with an average wage of $113,906. Workers in other professional fields like finance, sales and marketing are still the majority in Seattle, according to the report, with 189,830 jobs, but they make significantly less than those in the tech industry, with an average salary of $59,442.
The report also shows one of the big issues that has come with the tech boom: the rising cost of living. The report prices the average apartment rent in the Seattle metro area at $1,694 per month, a 37 percent increase since 2011. That is putting pressure even on Seattle’s highly paid techies, whose wages rose 20.7 percent during that same period. Those outside of the tech industry have seen rent take up a significantly larger chunk of their incomes as non-tech office wages have only risen 8 percent since 2011.
However, Seattle remains a significantly cheaper place to live and work than the Bay Area. The average rent in Seattle remains more than $1,100 per month less than San Francisco, and office rents are about half the cost of San Francisco. Seattle comes in as the 10th most expensive market for both apartments and office space in the report.
“Although rental rates in core submarkets in the region have gone up, it’s clear that, dollar-for-dollar, Seattle continues to offer more options than some of the other large technology hubs across the nation,” said Brian Biege, first vice president in CBRE’s Bellevue office.
It often seems like Seattle is getting younger all the time, and there definitely has been a big influx of fresh-faced techies into the city in recent years. Seattle has seen the population of 20-somethings living in downtown core areas increase by 16 percent since 2010. But the biggest population increase in the area comes, somewhat surprisingly, from those in their 60s, with a 28.1 percent rise in that group.