San Diego, CA

San Diego Ranks #17 in CBRE’s Annual ‘Scoring Tech Talent’ Report

The metro rose two spots from last year’s ranking due to job growth, number of graduates, and high average tech wage

July 14, 2022

San Diego Ranks #17 for Tech Talent Markets

San Diego ranks #17 overall in CBRE’s 2022 Scoring Tech Talent report as North American tech-talent employment bounced back from the pandemic to post job gains across most top markets in 2021, though the industry’s resilience will be tested again amid economic turmoil in 2022, according to a new report from CBRE.

The U.S. added a net 136,000 tech talent jobs last year across established hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Seattle as well as smaller markets like Nashville, Cleveland and California’s Inland Empire. Both tech job growth and tech office leasing proved resilient by rebounding in 2021 from slowdowns in 2020.

San Diego is among the gainers in this year’s report, rising two spots from last year’s ranking based on several criteria. The metro has the 22nd largest tech talent labor pool in North America with 77,780 workers representing 5.6 percent of the total employment in 2021. Between 2016 and 2021, San Diego’s tech workforce grew by 16 percent, adding 10,440 employees. It also recorded strong year-over-year tech talent workforce gains in 2021 with more than 7,400 jobs created, placing it as the top market for tech talent job growth, followed by Portland and Los Angeles/Orange County.

“Since the start of the pandemic, big tech users have signed over 2 million square feet of office leases in San Diego, the vast majority of which are still under construction. Using a standard tech employee-to-office ratio, this equates to approximately 9,000 jobs,” said CBRE’s Evan Knudson. “Historically, San Diego universities have been a solid producer of tech talent, but most of these graduates located elsewhere for their first job. The metro’s maturing tech ecosystem, paired with rising wages, have begun to offset that trend. In addition, remote-work policies have enabled talent to relocate here seeking an enhanced quality of living compared to other U.S. tech hubs. All these factors play a part in San Diego’s continued spot as a top tech-talent market.”

CBRE’s report, now in its 10th year, ranks the top 50 North American markets by analyzing 13 measures of their ability to attract and develop tech talent, including tech graduation rates, tech-job concentration, tech labor pool size, and labor and real estate costs.

CBRE also ranks the Next 25 emerging tech markets on a narrower set of criteria. Tech talent is defined as 20 key tech professions – such as software engineers and systems and data managers – across all industries.

San Diego stood out in the report in several other key areas:

  • San Diego-area universities conferred 21,286 tech degrees from 2016 to 2020.
  • The metro remained the fifth-most concentrated millennial market, with 23.6 percent of the market’s population in that cohort in 2020. San Diego’s millennial population rose 8.6 percent from 2015 to 2020.
  • San Diego is the fourth-most concentrated Gen Z market, with 7.5 percent of the population in that cohort in 2020.
  • The market boasts an average annual tech wage of $106,617 for 2021, the eighth highest in North America. It has grown 6.8 percent since 2016.
  • While San Diego has the fifth most expensive average monthly apartment rent among the tech markets, the metro’s high wages generally cover the cost of living. Its rent-to-tech wage ratio of 27.1 percent falls below the affordability standard of 30 percent of income to housing.
  • The tech industry is the largest employer of tech talent in all the U.S. markets ranked. San Diego is no different, with 37.9 percent of the market’s tech talent employed in the tech industry. The metro’s manufacturing industry was the second highest employer of tech talent at 15.4 percent, followed by professional services (14 percent); government (6 percent); and finance, insurance and real estate (5 percent).

To download the full report, click here.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at