Software Engineering Talent Comparison: Toronto vs. Vancouver

Who has the better Software Engineering Talent?

30 NOV 2021
Photo Credits: Matt Wang and Rachael Annabelle on Unsplash

Toronto and Vancouver are two of the largest cities in Canada. From Amazon to Microsoft to Uber, and more, these two cities are now home to offices for top tech companies, so it’s no surprise that both cities are rapidly growing their engineering hubs.

But why are these top tech companies selecting these cities in particular? And, which one might be the best fit for your next office location? Let’s take a look at the data to find out.

Software Engineering Talent Pool Size and Quality


Population size is commonly thought of as one of the leading indicators for a great talent pool. However, our research has shown that quality is just as important. In order to identify markets with the highest quality engineering talent, we’ve developed an in-house machine learning model that ranks engineers based on work experience, academic history, open source contributions, as well as other factors. This model provides a more complete and multidimensional understanding of any city’s talent pool to help you make a more informed site selection decision.

In terms of Toronto and Vancouver, our data shows that Toronto has a software engineering talent pool that’s more than 2.5x larger than Vancouver’s.

Toronto also has a denser talent pool. The Financial District in downtown Toronto is 10x denser than downtown Vancouver. While FiDi in downtown Toronto has more than 16,700 software engineers per sq. km., downtown Vancouver only has 1,660 software engineers per sq. km. So, Toronto beats out Vancouver in terms of both talent pool size and density.


However, Vancouver’s talent pool is higher quality than Toronto’s, which is to be expected because Vancouver has a much smaller talent pool.

While Toronto has more software engineers, Vancouver is a better choice if you’re looking for higher-quality software engineering talent.

Software Engineer Population Growth

When evaluating talent pools, it’s also important to look at talent population growth. In terms of all headcount working in the high tech (software/internet) industry, Vancouver’s headcount is slightly faster growing vs Toronto’s. Over the last 3 years, Vancouver has grown its headcount by 38% vs Toronto growing its headcount by 33%.

Over the last 3 years, Renfrew-Collingwood has been the fastest-growing Vancouver neighborhood for all personnel working in the high-tech industry. In Toronto, the fastest growing neighborhood has been the East Bayfront.

Based on headcount growth in terms of high-tech employees, Vancouver is a slightly better choice than Toronto.


Software Engineer Talent Diversity

Another key metric for evaluating talent pools is talent diversity.

Toronto’s talent pool is slightly more diverse than Vancouver’s. Compared with Vancouver, Toronto has a 13% larger non-white software engineer population. And, Toronto also has 7% more female software engineers than Vancouver.

In terms of diversity, Toronto is a better city for software engineering talent.


Software Engineer Tenure and Salary

Tenure and salary are the last two key metrics to evaluate Toronto and Vancouver’s software engineer talent pools.

Both Toronto and Vancouver have similar software engineer tenures. However, Toronto has a slightly higher average tenure in current roles at 5 years. Vancouver’s average tenure is only 4.5 years for software engineers.

Although Toronto has a longer software engineer tenure, software engineers are paid more in Vancouver. Compared with Toronto, software engineers are paid 5% higher in Vancouver.


Conclusion – Which City Is Best for Software Engineering Talent?

According to our data, there is no clear winner between Toronto and Vancouver for software engineering talent. Instead, each city has its trade-offs to consider before choosing either.


Toronto has a much larger (2.5x) talent pool of software engineers vs Vancouver. It also has a denser talent pool. In terms of diversity, Toronto also has a slight edge over Vancouver. And, software engineers in Toronto have an 11% longer tenure than in Vancouver. Lastly, Toronto’s software engineers are paid 5% less on average.

On the other hand, Vancouver has a smaller but higher-quality talent pool. Also, the headcount of all personnel in the high tech (software/internet industry) grew 15-20% quicker over the last year and 3 years vs Toronto.

If you’re looking for a large, diverse talent pool with a higher software engineer tenure and lower salaries, Toronto is a better choice. However, if you’re looking for a higher-quality and faster-growing talent pool, Vancouver will meet your needs better.

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