Nearly 300,000 technology jobs have been created in Canada over the past six years, according to a report from CompTIA, with nearly 1.4 million tech workers now in Canada. At an impact north of $110 billion, the tech industry represents more than 5% of Canada’s overall economy.
Showing off more signals of strength, Alberta boasts two of Canada’s top-five metros for tech employment: Calgary in 4th and Edmonton in 5th.
Calgary’s metro employs more than 61,000 tech workers, while Edmonton employs over 36,000, with a province-wide total of 108,000. Tech workers account for 7% of Calgary’s overall workforce, the report found, and make up roughly 4% of Edmonton’s.
As for companies, Calgary has nearly 3,000 tech firms operating, while Edmonton has 1,500, with a province-wide total of 5,100 tech businesses.
The region’s innovation ecosystem is robust but the cities are nonetheless grappling with some of Canada’s highest office vacancy rates, observes a recent report from Colliers exploring the evolving intersection of Canadian tech and commercial real estate.
There are some enterprises leasing substantial office space, including Shaw, Telus, and TransAlta occupying more than 100,000 square feet each. But Calgary still suffers from an office lease vacancy rate of more than 26%—the highest of 11 hubs analyze by Colliers across Canada.
Edmonton is not far behind, posting the second-highest vacancy rate at nearly 20%.
By comparison, Vancouver’s rate is 8.6% and Toronto’s is 11%, according to the Colliers’ “Canadian Tech Occupiers Guide.”
Demand for downtown office space is diminished because many tech companies remain operating on hybrid or remote models initiated during the thick of the Pandemic and thus require fewer desks at headquarters than they did three years prior.
Another reason is that the hiring market has cooled, with tech firms across Canada downsizing rather than expanding.
In an effort toward revitalization in downtown Calgary, Peoplefirst Developments this year collaborated with Vancouver-born real estate investment platform addy to boost housing supply and restore a human vitality to the stagnant city core. Together they converted a 10-story, 129,000-square-foot office building into 112 two- and three-bedroom residential units.
“Revitalizing the Core is as simple as providing people a place to live,” the developer explains. “By transforming empty office towers into vibrant, modern, and attainable residential spaces, we’re putting people where they matter most.”