In addition to expanding its workforce in Vancouver to total an estimated 5,000 employees by 2023, Amazon’s new office space in the former Canada Post building is also expected to trigger a renaissance of additional retail, commercial and residential leasing activity downtown. According to industry data, recent growth in the talent pool in Vancouver’s technology sector alone has outpaced Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles. That said, Vancouver has historically had the highest cost of living in Canada, while simultaneously offering a 15-30 percent lower earning potential for IT professionals as compared to the other major cities across the nation. A CBC analysis estimates that Amazon salaries for developers could average $100,000 USD, an almost 60 percent jump in the current median salary for software developers in Vancouver, which was $60,000 USD in 2017.
A Potential New Tech Hub in Downtown Vancouver
As the anchor client in the repurposed Canada Post building, Amazon’s move to the area is expected to act as a catalyst for technology companies and other businesses in downtown Vancouver. In addition to the tech sector jobs Amazon will bring to the Vancouver area, the company’s increased presence and new development in the city is expected to raise its profile and potentially attract other international corporations and tech firms attracted to the city’s IT and tech labor force.
More Job Opportunities (and Competition) for Tech Talent in the Vancouver Area
The Vancouver technology sector is already rich with talented and qualified software developers, engineers, and IT professionals and contractors. With a large pool of skilled candidates to choose from, Vancouver is a logical location for technology companies looking to expand their presence in North America, but it will also increase competition for local talent in an already tight market. As Amazon and other tech giants like Facebook and Google intensify the demand for skilled professionals, local tech companies will have to consider raising their rates in order to remain competitive and continue to attract and retain top IT and tech talent.
Reverse Brain Drain: Can Amazon Attract the Return of Local Talent Back to Vancouver?
The lack of affordable housing and lower wages have driven an exodus of local tech talent from British Columbia to Silicon Valley and higher paying markets in the U.S. If Amazon prioritizes hiring Canadian nationals, it could potentially entice expatriate talent to return to Vancouver.
Tech Talent in Vancouver
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