December 3

Edmonton’s burgeoning tech industry has seen a 26 per cent increase in jobs since 2014, shows a new report ranking Canadian cities based on tech talent.

EDMONTON – It's a momentum that champions of innovation believe can continue to grow amidst tax credits in the provincial budget. 

Adding more than 5,800 tech jobs in the past five years, Edmonton has moved into 10th spot in CBRE Limited’s annual study scoring 20 Canadian cities on how they appeal to tech workers and companies.

This year’s results, released by the commercial real estate services firm last Tuesday, garnered Edmonton the highest increase in score by more than 10 points and an improvement of one spot into the top 10.

CBRE Edmonton managing director Dave Young said this can be largely attributed to the education footprint in the city laying a foundation for a high quality of talent. More than 1,000 tech-based degrees are handed out annually in Edmonton, the seventh-highest across the country.

Young points to the University of Alberta as a leader in artificial intelligence and a great opportunity for growing companies to seek partnerships.

“There’s a world-class university right across the river from the downtown (tech) market that has some of the best research on the planet,” Young said in an interview with Postmedia. “I think it’s amazing that we’ve got these educational institutions that are able to provide research and development for the various tenants within the tech ecosystem.”

The study findings were a welcome sight to Innovate Edmonton vice-president Cheryll Watson, which she sees as a reflection of years of hard work and investment in the city.

“This is a long game and so these companies now that are emerging as the backbone of what we believe is a strong innovation ecosystem require support and investment … in their very early days,” which Watson said is the focus of Innovate Edmonton, a branch of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.

Even more than the amount of talent being produced by the city’s post-secondary institutions, Watson said the big improvement is in how many people are deciding to stay and work in Edmonton.

“This emerging talent wants to stay in Edmonton and what we’re really proud to be able to do with our work is highlight emerging tech companies, and show the opportunity to be employed locally,” she said.

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