Editor's Note: 'Our Colorado' stories help natives and newcomers navigate the challenges related to our rapidly growing state, including real estate and development, homelessness, transportation and more. To comment on this or other 'Our Colorado' stories, email us at OurCO@TheDenverChannel.com. See more 'Our Colorado' stories here.
DENVER — As Colorado evolves, so does Denver's reputation. A city once known as a "cow town" is now considered a destination for tech talent, and natural beauty is a big reason why.
"You have one of top live work play environments, frankly in the world,” said Spencer Levy, an economist with the commercial real estate firm CBRE. “When you combine Denver with Boulder and the broader area, it is one of the most attractive environments for young professionals, tech or otherwise.”
According to their research, Denver is number 10 out of 50 tech-rich cities. The Bay Area is number 1, followed by Seattle, Washington D.C., Toronto, New York, Austin, Boston, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta.
Colorado’s tech labor force grew by 23.8 percent over the past five years — that's more than 19,000 employees. And according to CBRE research, positions in the industry pay well, topping $100,000 a year on average,
"The concentration of the tech market in Denver is high. About 6.5-7 percent of your market is in the tech fields. That's more than double the national average," said Levy.
For the future, economists say Denver needs to increase the number of tech graduates from with the most technical of skills, and get more foreign investment to keep the cycle of success moving.
"You want those tech jobs to come to Denver rather than being concentrated in San Francisco and Seattle. Moving up the chain is really important," said Levy.