Vancouver’s housing unaffordability threatening booming tech sector
Vancouver, BC –Vancouver’s current tech renaissance is facing great uncertainty and peril due to uncontrollable housing prices that are killing aggressive local recruitment efforts.
According to the the Information and Communications Technology Council (the “ICTC”), there will be 15,500 new tech openings in Vancouver by 2019. This is in addition to the 74,530 people currently working in information and communications technology in Vancouver, which is more than oil & gas, forestry and mining combined.
Spurred by the decisions of tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to make Vancouver a major hub for their operations, and an explosion of dynamic start-up companies, the global tech community has begun to take great interest in the city.
With a younger demographic for skilled tech workers, however, Vancouver’s housing prices are out of the range of tech professionals contemplating competing global offers, according to Cody Green, the Founder of local tech company Canada Drives.
“The majority of tech professionals hover around the age of 30, and even with higher than average incomes, these are professionals who just cannot afford to build a life in Vancouver,” says Green. “Canada Drives is a company that must immediately double our staff to meet growth projections, but we are having great difficulty attracting the type of talent we require, both from the local and international pool of potential applicants.”
For young professionals, the facts are bleak. Vancouver housing prices have increased by 30 per cent over the past year (consuming more than 48 per cent of the average local monthly household income). Almost 1,600 millennials, the dominant demographic in the city’s tech community, left the city in 2013. This number will undoubtedly be surpassed over the time frame of this recent housing price surge.
The situation of Vancouver’s tech talent base is far different than it was even two years ago, describes Green.
“One of the main reasons we moved to Vancouver from the Prairies in 2014 was because of the wealth of tech professionals living in the city,” says Green. “And it worked – we have increased our staff numbers by over 1,500 per cent in just under two years.”
“But with the current level of government inaction, our company, and many others, are very scared that we will not be able to continue to grow without considering relocation. We have no desire to leave Vancouver, but the lack of local affordable housing is the biggest obstacle we face as a thriving tech business,” adds Green.
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