Seattle observers are well aware of the tech industry’s role in the city’s economic boom, but a new report takes it to a new level, finding that more than nine of every 10 office jobs created over the last two years came from the tech sector.
The report by real estate firm CBRE, finds that Seattle tech firms added 23,575 jobs in 2015 and 2016, accounting for 93 percent of all office jobs in the city created during that time span. In raw numbers, Seattle also created more tech jobs than any other single market in the survey. However, Seattle ranked only eighth on the list overall. The ranking factored in a number of metrics including tech job growth and how fast office rents are rising.
San Francisco came in at number one, followed by Charlotte and GeekWire HQ2 winner Pittsburgh.
Seattle has been buoyed by massive growth from hometown tech giant Amazon, which employed 541,900 people worldwide at the end of the last quarter, including more than 50,000 in Seattle. Additionally, more than 100 out-of-town tech companies have set up shop in the Seattle area. A few, like Facebook and Google, have become some of the top tech employers in the city.
The report finds that high tech jobs focused on software and services employed 145,356 people in Seattle in 2016, or about 38.1 percent of office jobs. Tech companies in Seattle have a strong talent pool to pull from, as 45 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Another area where Seattle stands alone is in its frothy office market. The report listed significant tech leases for each market, and F5 Network’s move to lease the entirety of a new downtown Seattle office tower was the biggest deal spotlighted in the report. The report did not mention two big leases signed by Amazon for a striking new tower, and a large swath of space above the downtown Macy’s.
Despite all these tech office deals, rents for tenants aren’t rising as fast as other markets. Seattle came in 10th in office rent growth. The average asking rent for office space of $32.45 per square foot is less than half of San Francisco’s at $72.90. Developers are active here: the 7 million square feet of new office space under construction in Seattle trails only New York and Silicon Valley.
All these figures point to Seattle as a more established tech market than some of the other top finishers in the report. In Pittsburgh, for example, tech accounted for a slightly higher percentage of new office jobs at 95 percent. But that only translated to 4,400 new jobs, or about one-sixth of Seattle’s new tech jobs over the two-year period.
It also shows that the San Francisco Bay Area is still the top tech region in the country. The report separates San Francisco and Silicon Valley, diluting their numbers. Combined, the two markets accounted for more than 41,000 tech jobs over the two-year period, with more than 15 million square feet of office space under construction.