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Newark growing as hotbed for tech talent

Newark has earned itself a place among the nation’s top destinations for tech talent.

In the annual Tech Talent Scorecard from CBRE, the Gateway City is ranked 25th among the top 50 North American cities that attract and grow tech talent.

JON MEISEL

“Newark remains one of the strongest markets in the Northeast for tech-related businesses given the percentage of young, highly educated people in the city as well as the competitive rents and cost of living when compared to other major markets in the region,” said Jon Meisel of CBRE.

“Given the growth of both technology and logistics over the past few years, and especially during the global pandemic, Newark’s technology sector is well positioned to continue its upward trajectory.”

Tech labor concentration – or the percentage of total employment – is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Newark’s tech-talent labor pool is comprised of 53,901 workers—most of which are jobs in software development, computer programming and database system management—and amounts to 4.5 percent of the overall workforce. The national average is 3.7 percent.

The top five markets for tech talent in 2020 were the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, Seattle, Toronto, and New York, all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 100,000. Newark’s ranking increased three spots this year from 28th last year.

The report outlines how tech-talent jobs are positioned to weather COVID-19 and related shutdowns and the ensuing recession because, more than ever, companies across all industries need the technical skills that this talent base offers. Many tech products and services such as streaming, remote communications and social media now are in higher demand to support remote work and social distancing.

Tech employment has shown it can withstand economic shocks: In the 2008-2010 recession, tech-talent employment declined by 0.5 percent while overall U.S. employment registered a 5.5 percent drop.

CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 unique metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

COLIN YASUKOCHI

“We expect that most tech-talent markets and professions will thrive after the pandemic subsides, and many that facilitate remote work and tech services such as e-commerce, social media and streaming services may have even greater growth opportunities accelerated by the COVID-19 disruption,” said Colin Yasukochi, Executive Director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center.

“Markets that have strong innovation infrastructure – leading universities and high concentrations of tech jobs – will lead the next growth cycle.”

Newark stood out in the report in several other key areas: 

  • The rent-to-wage ratio in Newark remains relatively low at 19.4 percent. The average apartment rent for a year is $21,074, and the average annual tech wage is $108,602. In contrast, the most expensive market, New York (Manhattan), those numbers are $48,508 and $110,591 (a rent-to-wage ratio of 43.9 percent) respectively.
  • In 2018, 2,901 tech degrees were completed in Newark – a 58.4 percent increase from 2014.  
  • The number of millennials (age 22-37) moving to Newark since 2013 increased by 5,881, or 3.5 percent. 

Newark was among the surprise cities to make Amazon’s shortlist of potential landing spots for its new headquarters last year and is already home to Audible, Amazon’s audiobook division, which employs 1,000 people.

Even when its Amazon bid failed, the city leveraged the momentum of the blockbuster negotiation to change its image among major global companies promoting major developments that attracting the next wave of office tenants and residents to the city.

SJP Properties and Aetna Realtys are redeveloping of the former Westinghouse property next to the Broad Street Station into a 3.7-acre office, retail, hotel and residential property and the former Newark Bears Stadium is being transformed into what will ultimately be Riverfront Square, a 12-acre mixed-use community from developer Lotus Equity Group.

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