Seattle Ranks as an Elite City Globally for Innovation and Workforce Talent

Markets with strong ‘innovation ecosystems’ are primed for economic growth and investments, study says
Updated: Thu, 05/16/2019 - 13:05
 
 
  • Markets with strong ‘innovation ecosystems’ are primed for economic growth and investments, study says

Seattle ranks as the 5th best city globally for workforce talent concentration and 15th in terms of its innovation economy, according to a new study of so-called “innovation geographies” that involved an assessment of more than 100 cities worldwide

The study, sponsored by real estate services company JLL, examined talent in terms of concentration, reflecting not only the size but also the quality of the labor pool. Variables examined included the quality of higher education, employment in high-tech industries and the education level of the population.

Innovation was defined broadly in the study to include not only pure technology companies, but also industry clusters such as life sciences, value-add manufacturing and scientific research and development. Variables measured included venture capital attraction, R&D expenditures, international patent applications and investments in high-tech industries.

“Innovation ecosystems within cities are key to driving productivity and in turn lead to economic growth and, by implication, to demand for real estate, particularly when combined with a high concentration of human capital,” the JLL report states. “There are now clearly compelling reasons for real estate professionals to include innovation and talent metrics when assessing a city’s real estate potential, combining them with the traditional measures of city economy and real estate dynamism relating to gross domestic product, employment and population.”

Ranking ahead of Seattle in the talent measure, from highest to lowest, are London; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and San Jose, California. Seattle also ranked fourth in high-tech employment growth (not the size of the workforce) between 2013-2018, trailing San Francisco, Austin and Charlotte, North Carolina.

On the global innovation front, U.S. cities ranking ahead of No. 15 Seattle are San Francisco (1st) San Jose (6th), New York (8th), Boston (9th) and Los Angeles (12th). Those are the only U.S cities to make it in the top 20 in the measure. Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing and London ranked 2nd through 5th, respectively.

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