Edmonton’s Global Connectivity Advantage

Edmonton region a top destination for tech company expansion

AI and Technology
Published On
July 23, 2021

Last week the CBRE published its 2021 Scoring Tech Talent report ranking North American jurisdictions based on their attractiveness to companies seeking tech talent. A number of data points in the report highlight the attractiveness of the Edmonton Region to potential investors looking to expand or launch their North American operations. 

Rapid Growth 

First of all, data shows Edmonton has the fastest growing tech ecosystem of any of the 50 North American cities studied, based on total employment in the technology sector. The average growth rate across the 50 cities CBRE looked at was 17.6% between 2015 and 2020, while the Edmonton Region saw a growth rate of 53.3% over the same period. According to CBRE’s analysis, there are 34,000 people working in tech in the Edmonton Region- or 5.7% of the total jobs—which is slightly above the average for the other cities in the report. 

This rapid growth is a very promising sign and a reason for Edmonton to celebrate. 

Great Value for Talent

If you are a tech company looking for top talent, Edmonton is the best bargain in North America. CBRE categorizes talent in the Edmonton Region as “Very high” and Edmonton is tied for the cheapest labour out of all 50 cities. 

Compared to Canadian cities included in the report, Edmonton’s talent trails only Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo in terms of talent quality but is much more competitive in terms of cost. So there is no other jurisdiction in North America with more affordable, high-quality, talent than Edmonton; in 29 of 50 jurisdictions, a tech company would pay more for inferior talent.  

This talent advantage is an obvious win from a prospective employer’s perspective. Combined with other affordability drivers such as low taxes and some of the cheapest class-A office space in Canada, the region can expect more and more investors to look at Edmonton as a destination for their next expansion. According to CBRE, the total cost of operating a 500-person tech company, including rent and wages is $USD 10 million a year cheaper in the Edmonton Region than the North American Average.   

High Quality of Life for Employees 

Low wages are not a win from the perspective of prospective employees, but wages are only a part of the quality-of-life equation. The Edmonton region has among the cheapest housing costs in North America (third after Montreal and Quebec City), combined with low sales tax (lowest in Canada), excellent schools and health care, abundant park spaces and rich cultural offerings.  Employees must weigh the lower salaries in Edmonton against these other factors when considering where to settle.

Attractive Destination  

Finally, the Edmonton Region is a talent magnet. According to analysis, the Edmonton Region saw a net addition of 12,000 technology jobs between 2015 and 2019 which exceeded the number of technology degrees granted in the region. That means that we welcomed 6,478 new tech workers to the region—more than 45 of the other North American cities. This conclusion is a testament to our high quality of life, welcoming community and affordability in the Edmonton region—as well as the rapidly growing technology sector.   

The Verdict 

Huge opportunities remain for Edmonton’s tech sector to grow and the CBRE’s data shows the region is moving in the right direction. If you are interested in exploring opportunities to expand your North American operations, please feel free to reach out to the Edmonton Global team and we can help provide answers to any questions you might have about our region. 


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