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Denver Tech Market is Heating Up

Posted by Chris Bonnstetter on Apr 17, 2019 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, Job Trends, Job Search Tips, IT, Candidate

If you work with the any of the tech companies found in metro Denver commercial real estate; it’s been pretty obvious for a while now - the tech sector is on fire. There is news of yet another company opening a new, Front Range office, securing funding, expanding the headcount, or launching their initial public offering virtually every day. While it’s quite an exciting time in for tech industry candidates, it’s also important to understand that this particular type of growth isn’t something that “just happens.” The growth of the tech industry in the Boulder and Denver area is the result of several factors, with the most notable being the availability of tech talent.

For the previous six years, the Scoring Tech Talent report has been released, which ranked the top 50 Canadian and U.S. markets based on the ability they had to attract and grow new tech talent. Even though Denver has been climbing in these rankings for the past several years, 2018 represented the first time that the Denver/Boulder area made it into the top 10, which put a hard metric on the precise momentum for everyone working in this sector who may have felt somewhat intangible for quite a while.

The Tech Talent Scorecard is calculated by considering 13 different metrics, which included the market outlook for both the apartment and office rent cost growth, industry outlook for overall job growth, completed tech degrees, cost, concentration, growth, and the tech candidate supply. The latest evaluation showed that Denver/Boulder achieved high marks in several areas this year, particularly the areas of wage growth and tech labor concentration.

Tech labor concentration refers to the total employment percentage that’s dedicated entirely to the tech sector and is an extremely influential factor regarding how “tech-centric” a particular market is, as well as its growth potential. The area of metro Denver has a labor pool of tech talent that exceeds 99,760, which represents 6.2 percent of the area’s entire employment, which places this area in the top 10 of markets that are most tech-concentrated in all of North America and significantly over the national average, which is 3.5 percent.

In regards to tech wage growth, which is responsible for helping a city to both attract and retain new tech talent, the metro Denver area’s annual tech wage exceeds $100,000, which puts it at number 10 out of the 50 different markets that were studied. This marks an increase of 15 percent in overall tech wage growth for the previous five years. Another way that tech wage growth is important is related to the rising housing costs in the Denver and Boulder, which allows those in this industry to afford a quality of life that was likely an attributing factor to them moving to Colorado initially.

The tech labor force of the metro Denver area grew by 23.8 percent (which was an added 19,200 workers) in the previous five years. This put the area among the quickest growing in all North American tech markets. Additionally, the metro area gained attention for producing many tech graduates, all while drawing talent from outside the market who were attracted to all the job opportunities outside of the Colorado area. The research also showed that the Denver/Boulder area added more than 1,500 tech jobs than they had tech graduates in the previous five years; this is a phenomenon that has been referred to as the “brain gain.” The area considers itself fortunate to have a number of continuing education institutions, including the University of Denver, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado, as well as others that educate and work to inspire the next round of change-makers and entrepreneurs in the area.

The availability of tech jobs in this region is also effectively attracting millennials to the area, which is one of the most sought-after groups for modern tech employers. In fact, the metro Denver community had an increase in the millennial population of 6.8 percent in the previous five years. This is almost double the average for the U.S., which is currently at 3.7 percent.

Even though tech talent is an extremely important part of the equation in the efforts to keep growing the tech sector in Colorado, there are several other factors that are also contributing to the area's rise on the large, national stage. One of these main areas is the extremely supportive entrepreneurial culture in this region. There is nowhere else in the entire nation where a startup can access the same amount of resources that are available in the state of Colorado. From the various entrepreneurs who are willing to provide advice to networking groups, this area is a community that wants to ensure other local tech companies thrive.

Do you know what this actually means in the tech sector for the future of the metro Denver area? It means there is going to be ongoing growth. It also means the area anticipates seeing even more tech firms launch in this area, relocate here, and open a new presence in order to gain control of the tech talent pipeline in Colorado. Now is the time to sit back, grab a paper or tablet, and get used to all the headlines featuring tech-topics. These are only going to become more and more frequent as the months and years continue to pass.

If you find yourself looking for a job and want to take advantage of this growing area, contact us at ICS. We can connect you with companies that fit with all of your criteria. Click below to get started!

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