Baltimore jumps up to #11 in CBRE's tech talent scorecard - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jul. 30, 2020 12:34 pm

Baltimore jumps up to #11 in CBRE’s tech talent scorecard

The report offers a snapshot of tech's place in the regional economy. A growing cybersecurity industry and proximity to government jobs contributed to the leap.
Downtown Baltimore.

Downtown Baltimore.

(Photo by Flickr user Sue, used under a Creative Commons license)

When it comes to tech talent, Baltimore moved up a few spots in an annual ranking from national real estate services firm CBRE.

CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard found that the Baltimore metro area ranked 11th out of 50 in North America when it comes to attracting and growing local tech talent — a jump of three spots from #14 in 2019. The report is based on 13 metrics that range from talent concentration to salary to degree completion to the outlook for offices and housing.

Findings from the report include:

  • The Baltimore metro area has 79,880 workers, which is 5.8% of the local workforce. That percentage is higher than the 3.7% percent national average, and ranks in the top 20 nationally. That workforce has grown 17% in the last five years. About one-fifth of these workers are software programmers or developers.
  • The average software developer wage in 2020 was about $108,000, which ranks #8 nationally, and tech talent accounts for 50% of the employment in an average tech company.
  • Average apartment rent amounted to $1,346 per month in 2019, which was 37th highest out of 50.
  • The area saw 6,100 more tech graduates than new tech jobs in the past five years, making it a “net producer” of talent. Perhaps another way to look at it: If there were more even more local tech jobs, more would stay.

As for the jump in the rankings year-over-year, Baltimore joined Ottawa, Orange County, Columbus and Newark as big movers in 2020. It came in just behind Raleigh-Durham, which was #10. CBRE has a tool called the Tech Talent Analyzer that allows for cross-market comparison.

The year-over-year boost was in part due to the sources of talent that exist in the area. Along with the degree completions, infrastructure like educational institutions and R&D investment helped the score. It reflects the area’s concentration of government and universities, which have long been seen as a strength.

There’s also more tech companies springing up in an area that has big chunks of government employment. Take a sector like cybersecurity, where more companies that are serving commercial businesses are forming, said CBRE VP Jonathan Hall.

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“We’ve always been a heavily concentrated hub of government contractors that are supporting the federal government,” Hall said. “Now, in the last 10 years, we’re seeing growth in the commercial cybersecurity sector that’s really exciting.”

Cybersecurity and data science are areas where leaders have compared the talent here to “oil,” given that many of the federal agencies leading national cybersecurity activities that are located at Anne Arundel County’s Fort Meade and the nearby universities that train many of their workers.

A mix of increasing cyber risk for businesses on a global scale and new efforts on the local level to galvanize entrepreneurship that will create the products to serve them are resulting in some of those skilled folks that served the federal mission now starting new tech companies that are headquartered in Baltimore city and Columbia.

Looking ahead, CBRE also addresses the outlook given that we’re in a time when a pandemic and economic slowdowns are leading to workforce reductions. For its part, however, tech is seen as a stable and even promising portion of a local economy, per CBRE.

“We expect that most tech-talent markets and professions will thrive after the pandemic subsides, and many that facilitate remote work and tech services such as e-commerce, social media and streaming services may have even greater growth opportunities accelerated by the COVID-19 disruption,” said Colin Yasukochi, executive director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center, in a statement. “Markets that have strong innovation infrastructure — leading universities and high concentrations of tech jobs — will lead the next growth cycle.”

Notable, given that Baltimore is getting high marks in both of those areas.

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