Assessing the quality of a labor market is difficult because no standard metrics exist.

Since salaries are the largest expense for most companies seeking tech talent, the quality of that tech talent is becoming one of their most important considerations. Figure 26 plots a quality assessment for software engineers against their average salary by market to illustrate this trade-off across the top 50 tech talent markets.

Figure 26: Tech Talent Quality vs. Cost Analysis

*Concentration of software engineers/developers with 3+ years of experience that have earned degrees from the Top 25 Computer Information Science programs in U.S. and Top 5 in Canada as rated by U.S. News relative to total software engineers/developers.
**Data in US$.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2022, Canada Statistics April 2022, U.S. News & World Report, CBRE Labor Analytics, CBRE Research, 2022.
Note: LinkedIn Disclaimer: LinkedIn Talent Insights data is derived by aggregating profile data voluntarily submitted by LinkedIn members. As such, LinkedIn cannot guarantee the accuracy of LinkedIn Talent Insights data.

Software engineer quality was measured by the number and concentration of software engineers with three or more years of experience and who graduated from one of the top 25 computer science programs in North America, including the top five in Canada, as determined by U.S. News & World Report. The highest-cost markets (San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle) also have the highest concentration of quality software engineers. Nevertheless, moderate, high and very high concentrations of quality software engineers are available in relatively low-cost markets, providing a range of options. Due in part to exchange rates, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo in Canada provide the best value when it comes to cost and quality, followed by Madison, Pittsburgh and Detroit in the U.S.

Since salaries are the largest expense for most companies seeking tech talent, the quality of that tech talent is becoming one of their most important considerations.

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