OKC rivals silicon valley in tech talent report

OKC is on a road to rival Silicon Valley for tech talent, according to a new report. (Mark Hancock)

OKC is on a road to rival top tech spots for tech talent, according to a new report. (Mark Hancock)


Oklahoma City ranked in the top 50 in “tech talent” markets, positioning the city close to markets like San Francisco and Seattle.

While established tech markets dominated the top spots on the Tech Talent Scorecard, many smaller markets stood out as top “momentum markets” based on tech talent growth rates, according to a new CBRE Research report Scoring Tech Talent, which ranks 50 U.S. markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent.

With a 39 percent growth in tech talent from 2010 to 2013, Oklahoma City ranks as one of the strongest growth markets in the country.

“Oklahoma City is often thought of as a mining town,” said Brent Conway, CBRE vice president. “What is often overlooked is that even within the energy sector, we’re on the cutting edge of oil exploration technology with companies like Chesapeake and Devon Energy. We also have a large aviation and aerospace presence here through Tinker Air Force Base and Boeing, as well as an emerging bio-tech industry that’s garnering national and international attention. And with 17 institutions of higher learning in the greater metro area, we have a large, very talented labor pool coming into the workforce each year. So it’s not surprising to see Oklahoma City on this list.”

Oklahoma scored 49th in the report, which looks at which markets present the greatest cost for occupiers based on wages paid to employees and rent paid for office space. CBRE Research combined these two costs for a “typical” 500-person tech firm needing 75,000 square feet of office space for each market and found that for large markets, Silicon Valley is the highest cost and Detroit is the lowest cost. For smaller markets, Oakland is the highest cost and Oklahoma City is the lowest cost.

Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco took the first three spots respectively while Seattle was number six.

The CBRE report also identifies various characteristics that are shared by tech talent markets:

Gender diversity

The U.S. average breakdown for tech talent occupations is 76.2 percent male and 23.8 percent female. Half of tech talent markets have a greater concentration of women in these occupations when compared with the U.S. average, but the numbers are still imbalanced. The most gender-diverse tech talent market is Philadelphia, where females occupy 31 percent of tech talent occupations.


Nearly 75 percent of the top 50 tech talent markets have an educational attainment rate above the national average. New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles topped the list for the most tech degrees completed in a two-year period. When it comes to small markets, Columbus, Ohio, was the standout in this area, besting large markets like Dallas/Ft. Worth and Philadelphia in the number of tech degrees completed in the last two years. These numbers are an indication of future tech talent growth.


The presence of millennials in the workforce has contributed to the growth of tech talent labor pools. In Boston, millennials make up more than 25 percent of the total population. In Washington, D.C., the millennial population has increased by 26.5 percent since 2009.


  • Press release edited by Kory B. Oswald

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