CBRE study: South Florida lags other areas in tech-talent growth

Tech-talent clustering is a growing driver of demand for office space in both large and small markets across the United States, according to a research report released Tuesday by CBRE, a global commercial real estate and investment firm. But of the 50 top office markets CBRE studied, Miami ranked at the bottom for tech-talent growth – No. 50. Fort Lauderdale ranked No. 48.

Among other Florida cities, Tampa ranked 36th and Orlando 47th. At the top of the list: Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Francisco Peninsula, New York; Seattle, Boston, Baltimore, Austin and Atlanta. Smaller markets in the top 25 included Edison, NJ, Columbus, OH, and Salt Lake City, UT.

“Tech talent growth rates are the best indicator of labor pool momentum and it’s easily quantifiable to identify the markets where demand for tech workers has surged,” said Colin Yasukochi, director research and analysis for CBRE, in a news release. “Tech talent growth, primarily within the high-tech industry, has recently been the top driver of office leasing activity in the U.S.”

Orlando ranks as one of the most affordable of the markets in the U.S., based on rent and wage costs, according to the report. Fort Lauderdale and Miami made it to the list as a result of the sizeable increase in their millennial workforce, which is considered a robust contributor to the growth of tech-talent pools. Since 2000, the population in Miami’s urban core has doubled, according to a recent Miami DDA study.

Though tech talent comprises 3.4 percent of the total U.S. workforce (4.4 million workers), the high-tech industry accounted for more major U.S. office leasing activity than any sector in both 2013 (13.6 percent) and 2014 (19.0 percent), according to the CBRE report.

CBRE is tracking tech companies that are moving into Miami and hopes to have data to present to clients and media attending eMerge Americas, said Quinn Eddins, director of research and analysis for CBRE Florida.

“Why do we care? A strong tech sector is good for Miami in many ways of course, but also because there’s a strong correlation between tech clusters and high-performing office markets. Nationally, the tech talent labor force is growing at a rapid pace,” said Eddins. “More tech or tech-related jobs mean more demand for office space. More demand for office space means decreasing vacancy and rising rents, and that’s what makes a strong office market, and an attractive environment for investors.”

Nancy Dahlberg