09/21/2021

Is Southern California suffering a tech brain drain?

Is Southern California suffering from a technology brain drain?

A new study of U.S. and Canadian technology talent by the CBRE real estate brokerage certainly suggests that the region isn’t fully absorbing its slew of tech-savvy college graduates.

Here’s the good news: Los Angeles and Orange counties produced 45,968 college graduates to technology-related degrees between 2010 and 2015. Only two other markets — New York and Washington D.C. — produced more.

L.A.-O.C. produced 33,080 new technology jobs between 2011 and 2016, seventh-best growth among big tech hubs behind San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and D.C.

Unfortunately, when you combine those two trends you see an ugly gap between the lofty level of local tech graduates and modest growth of L.A.-O.C. tech employment.

By CBRE math, L.A.-O.C. had a net tech talent drain of 12,888 people, third-worst among the Top 50. Only Boston and D.C. fared worse by this metric.

It’s not like the region’s tech industry is terribly weak.

Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties employed 261,000 tech workers in the past year — up 48,000 since 2011! Combined, only the Bay Area had more technology workers than these Southern California counties.

And CBRE’s index of regional tech talent — based on education, employment and demographic factors — ranked Orange County 14th best out of the 50 markets tracked. San Diego was No. 19. Los Angeles was 24th. Tops, in order: Bay Area, Seattle, New York, D.C. and Atlanta.

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