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Tech Hiring A Bright Spot For Denver's Office Market, Report Shows

Tech Hiring A Bright Spot For Denver's Office Market, Report Shows
Tech companies have been busy hiring in metro Denver, even through the pandemic.

Denver’s growing tech industry continued to add jobs between 2019 and 2021, with a net gain of 3.2% over the two-year period, even as other sectors suffered the effects of the pandemic, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield.

The tech sector was one of the few to post a net gain in employment over the tumultuous last two years, when overall office-using employment declined by 2.7%, according to the report, entitled Tech Sector: A Growth Story In Denver’s Still Recovering Office Market.

“The Covid-19 pandemic caused more talent to disperse into secondary markets, with talent and tech companies alike gravitating toward cities like Denver for its affordability, high quality of life and highly educated workforce,” the report states.

The tech industry employed 123,650 people in metro Denver in 2021, an increase of 3,900 from 2019. Over the last 10 years, the industry has added 42,600 jobs, an increase of 52.5%.

Tech companies are among the most common newcomers to metro Denver, with Silicon Valley-based enterprises choosing to establish satellite offices in the area, or move their headquarters here entirely. Among the highest-profile of these companies is Palantir, a security company that moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Denver in the middle of the pandemic, with its CEO citing issues with the culture in Silicon Valley.

Drawn by the talent pool — 45% of the metro Denver working-age population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher — tech companies make up an ever-increasing share of office tenancy in the city.

In 2021, tech companies accounted for 20.2% of all office leasing activity in metro Denver, above the five-year average of 16.7%, according to Cushman. Nearly half of the leasing took place in downtown Denver, and about 27% occurred in Boulder.

But these companies, with deep pockets and choosey executives, aren’t picking just any office space for their Denver digs. They want the best spaces the city has to offer, with 75% of the tech leasing activity taking place in Class-A buildings and new construction. 

Finding workers is the biggest challenge for most tech companies today, and high-quality office space is seen as a recruiting tool that can help companies be more competitive.

Cushman’s report expects that tech hiring will remain healthy in the near future. The research forecasts that tech employment will outpace overall office-using employment by an average of about 1.1% annually through 2025.