More than $7.1 billion was invested in Atlanta-area tech companies over the same period, according to investment firm BIP Capital. In the first half of 2021, about $2 billion of venture capital deals closed in Georgia, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
The city’s 90.5% growth rate in completed technology degrees between 2014 and 2019 was the highest among the CBRE report’s top 10 cities. The number of women in Atlanta graduating with tech degrees increased 25% during that period, on pace with Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.
About 36% of Atlanta’s tech talent workforce also is comprised by Blacks or Hispanics, trailing only San Antonio. After the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, American employers have vowed to improve racial diversity in their ranks.
But Atlanta still trails other cities in measurements like tech labor supply and average wages. The top five ranked metro areas by CBRE were the San Francisco area, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Toronto and New York.
Brain drain is another problem, with lots of skilled labor leaving for other cities. The Atlanta region produced 15,633 more tech graduates than tech jobs between 2015 and 2020, better than New York and Boston but worse than Toronto and Seattle.
Nearby cities like Nashville, Charlotte and Raleigh scored better than Atlanta in areas such as retaining homegrown talent, tech job growth and the percentage of the overall population with a college degree.
In April, Apple picked the Raleigh-Durham area for a $1 billion tech hub where it will create 3,000 jobs, and Amazon chose Nashville for one of its major hubs in 2018. Truist, the bank formed by the merger of BB&T and SunTrust, picked Charlotte for its tech hub and headquarters.
CBRE also flagged Huntsville and Birmingham in Alabama as smaller nearby rivals with a cost advantage.
Still, Atlanta’s diverse economic base helps the region attract new employers seeking tech pros, said Brad MacAfee, CEO of recruiting firm Mission+Cause. Health insurance provider Anthem, railroad operator Norfolk Southern and payments giant NCR are building or have completed office towers in Midtown. All heavily recruit tech talent.
Professional organizations such as the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance meanwhile support tech entrepreneurs with continuing education.
“There are universities graduating talent here but that’s part one,” MacAfee said. “You’ve also got to have infrastructure to support that talent.”
Two dozen metro Atlanta companies made the 2020 Deloitte North American Technology Fast 500, a list of the fastest-growing public and private tech companies, measured by revenue growth in percentage terms. A decade earlier, Atlanta had nine startups on the annual list.