The tech industry might drive the rise of Canada's secondary cities

The tech industry might drive the rise of Canada's secondary cities

The tech industry might drive the rise of Canada

With the tech industry continuously eating up commercial assets in Canada’s largest markets, the lack of instantly available urban office space could lead to the smaller cities becoming more feasible options.

In its Cyberprovinces 2019 study, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) stated that Canadian tech employment expanded by 3.8% annually in 2018.

This represented as much as 61,000 new jobs last year alone. Overall, the tech workforce grew by around 249,000 new employees since 2010.

Compounding the issue is that demand for Canada’s office spaces is “not just limited to technology companies, who are starting to take office space or build new headquarters, but a range of different company types are attracting tech talent,” CompTIA senior vice-president of research and market intelligence Tim Herbert told Postmedia in an interview.

As space is becoming an ever-scarcer premium in the largest cities, Canada can consider the examples set by some secondary cities south of the border.

“Something like a Charlotte, or a Kansas City, or an Austin,” Herbert stated. “These cities [are] more affordable, [and] in some cases you can make an argument that there is better quality of life.”

Data from Avison Young showed that the Canadian office market has seen the positive absorption of 9 million square feet (msf) in the year ending June 30, 2019. This has massively outstripped the nearly 6 msf absorption during the immediately preceding 12-month period.

The sustained popularity of the industry, and the resulting demand upon Canada’s commercial real estate, is impelled by the strength of its long-term employment prospects. In 2018, tech earnings clocked in an average of $78,070 – fully 51% higher than the average reading of $51,794 in the private sector.