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How Tampa-St. Pete ranks for high-skilled tech workers

Margie Manning



Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

The Tampa-St. Petersburg market has a way to go to match some of the best tech talent markets in the United States, according to a new report from CBRE.

The commercial real estate firm said the Tampa-St. Pete market came in No. 29 on a new list of 50 U.S. and Canadian metropolitan areas ranked according to their competitive advantage and appeal to both employers and tech talent.

Tampa-St. Pete’s ranking on the CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report for 2020 has not changed from a year ago, when the local metro also ranked No. 29.

Tech talent includes the highly-skilled workers in more than 20 technology-oriented occupations that drive innovation across all industry sectors. Top tech talent markets are characterized by high concentrations of college-educated workers, major universities producing tech graduates and large millennial populations, CBRE said.

Markets with high concentrations or clusters of growing tech talent employers create economic growth and change office market dynamics, according to the report.

The report considered several factors in developing its ranking of top tech talent markets.


There were 52,150 people in the Tampa-St. Pete metro employed in tech occupations in 2019, compared to 201,590 employed in non-tech occupations. The number of people working in tech occupations in the local area between 2014 and 2019 grew 26.6 percent, while growth in non-tech occupations was 14.9 percent in the same time period.

The average wage in tech occupations locally was $89,032, compared to $44,908 in non-tech occupations.

The highest average wage was for computer and information systems managers, at $143,770, the report said. Software developers and programmers’ average wage was $95,462. For technology engineering-related jobs, the average wage was $85,406, and it was $77,713 for computer support, database and systems jobs.

In contrast, average wages for non-tech jobs ranged from $68,030 for business operations and finance, to $35,932 for administrative and office support.

Population trends

The population of millennials in the Tampa-St. Pete market grew by 40,609, or 13.6 percent, since 2013.

Average annual operating costs

This is a measure of both annual labor and real estate costs for the typical 500-person tech company needing 75,000 square feet of office space. The Tampa-St. Pete market ranked No. 31, with $37 million in talent costs and $2 million in rent costs.

Office rent and vacancy trends

The asking rent for office space in the local market averaged $23.21 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 12.7 percent since Q4 2014.

The vacancy rate locally was 11.5 percent in Q4 2019, down 4.7 percent in the past five years.

Average apartment rent

The average rent was $1,237 per month in Q4 2019, up 23.4 percent in five years.

Labor force pipeline and education

There were 1,808 total tech degrees awarded in 2018, a 56.3 percent increase from 2014.

Of those degrees — 1,414 were in computer engineering, 110 were in math/statistics, and 284 were in other tech engineering. About 39 percent of the area’s total population have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The top-ranked markets nationally were the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, D.C. and Seattle. Markets registering the biggest rise in the rankings were Ottawa, Orange County, Baltimore, Columbus and Newark.

Tampa-St. Pete was the highest-ranked Florida market, ahead of Orlando (No. 33), South Florida (No. 37) and Jacksonville (No. 45).

Data used in the 2020 CBRE report does not reflect the impact of Covid-19, but historically tech talent is one of the most resilient professions in any economic downturn, CBRE said.

See the full report here.

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