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Columbus, Ohio: Top Small City in Attracting, Growing Tech Talent

A new report ranked the city as the top small market among U.S. and Canadian cities, and No. 23 overall.

(TNS) -- Columbus, Ohio, is the top city in its class in its ability to attract and grow tech talent, according to an annual research report.

The report “Scoring Tech Talent,” from Los Angeles-based commercial real-estate company CBRE, ranked Columbus as the top small market among U.S. and Canadian cities and No. 23 overall.

Central Ohio’s attractiveness to tech talent doesn’t surprise local officials.

“Our smart and open business environment provides avenues for people interested in technology to enter the market,” said Don DePerro, CEO of the Columbus Chamber. “Initiatives like (entrepreneurial events) Startup Grind and GiveBackHack not only attract top talent, but also unite our tech community by empowering innovation through collaboration.”

Tom Walker, CEO and president of Rev1 Ventures, said,”Our growing ranking as a startup community is having an important impact.”

Walker cited the Kauffman Index, which has said that Columbus made the biggest improvement in rankings of startup activity among cities measured, from No. 22 in 2014 to No. 12 in 2015.

Michael Copella, managing director of CBRE’s Columbus office, said of his company’s ranking of the city. “Columbus has the right mix of ingredients that attract tech talent as well as retain the talent that is being produced by our local universities.”

Cleveland was No. 40 and Cincinnati was No. 41 in the ranking.

Rankings for the Tech Talent Scorecard are based on 13 factors, including tech-talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth and market outlook for growth in the cost of office and apartment rents.

“Tech-talent markets share several distinct characteristics, including high concentrations of college-educated workers, major universities producing tech graduates and large millennial populations,” said Colin Yasukochi, who authored the report on behalf of CBRE Research.

Columbus benefited from its low cost of living as more highly skilled tech workers, especially millennials, move to more-affordable markets with a growing tech presence. Columbus was the second-most affordable of the 50 markets examined in the report.

The city ranked ninth in terms of the number of tech degrees completed, produced 20,995 tech graduates between 2010 and 2014, and added 24,310 tech jobs between 2011 and 2015, for a net gain of 3,315.

In addition, Columbus has seen its population of 20-somethings grow by 17,000, or 10.9 percent, since 2009, the fourth-most among small markets.

“The robust entrance of millennials into the labor pool contributed greatly to the growth in tech talent across all 50 downtown markets, including Columbus, in our ranking this year,” Yasukochi said.

Established tech markets dominated the top spots in the report.

They include the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, Seattle, New York and Austin, Texas. The rest of the top 10 were all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 50,000: Dallas/Fort Worth, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta and Baltimore.

Between No. 11 and No. 15 were Phoenix, Toronto, Chicago, Orange County and Minneapolis.



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