Editor’s note: Michael Haley is head of Wake County Economic Development.

RALEIGH – In the recently released CBRE tech talent report, it was no surprise that the Raleigh-Durham market ranked in the top 10. The ranking kept us in the good company of other tech giants like San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. While we may be the smallest metro in the top 10, we are no stranger to being top ranked when it comes to tech talent. It is important to mention that even though we are in the middle of a global pandemic and unemployment is at a level we’ve never seen before; our market should fare well over the long-term based on strong fundamentals.

So what makes the Raleigh-Durham market a tech talent powerhouse? For starters, look at the resources in the region. In 2018, over $340 million was raised by Raleigh-based startups and Cary-based Epic Games raised a staggering $1.25 billion (Cary is located in Wake County, as is Raleigh.) Age and education also plays a major role in attracting talent. The median age of local talent is 36 and nearly half of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As the report details, even with the ongoing pandemic, the Raleigh-Durham market has +65,000 jobs in the tech industry ranging from analytics to cyber security. We’ve been ranked numerous times as a leader in employment growth; and Forbes calls us the number two “tech hub that millennials prefer to Silicon Valley.”

What drives tech employment in Raleigh-Durham? Tech employment is propelled by global leaders like SAS, Citrix, IBM, Lenovo, Cree, Red Hat, and the list goes on. The Raleigh-Durham tech scene offers a rare combination of innovative culture mixed with affordability. And affordability goes a long way when it comes to considering relocating for a tech job. A recent article in Quartz named Raleigh the “one US tech hub where the cost of living is below the national average.” Not only does the Raleigh-Durham market offer a lower cost of living but also business costs, are significantly below the national average.

What really puts the Raleigh-Durham market in the spotlight for top tech talent is our unmatched talent pipeline. On top of the 12 colleges and universities located in the region, there are three tier-one research universities (NC State, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill.) The world’s next generation of talent is being built right here.

With continued growth on the horizon (growing by +100 people per day) and massive innovation across the tech industry, the Raleigh-Durham region will continue to accelerate as a leading hub for top tech talent, expansion of existing tech companies, and relocation.

You can learn more about our tech industry on our website.

(Note: This blog was reprinted with permission.)