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Toronto – An Engineering Talent Hotspot in North America

Toronto – An Engineering Talent Hotspot in North America

17 Jan, 2020

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, housing the world-famous skyscraper – The CN Tower with a revolving restaurant, the Provincial capital of Ontario, and the debated new Silicon Valley – Toronto has more than one thing to be proud of. The city is making heads turn this time for its flourishing Engineering talent.

Toronto ranks as the third-best market for tech talent only next to San Francisco, Bay Area, and Seattle in CBRE’s 2019 Scoring Tech Talent report. The report evaluated the US and Canada across thirteen parameters that measured each market’s depth, vitality, and attractiveness. With Toronto adding a significant number of tech jobs every year, it is clearly one of the top hotspots that are housing and attracting tech talent.

The key components of the burgeoning Toronto Tech Ecosystem


The Brain Gain Game of Canada is on. When a major crisis faced by nations around the world is brain drain, Canada has exhibited a positive trend in terms of attracting Engineering talent from around the world.

Canada is the destination of choice for some of the world’s leading scientists and scholars, including expatriate Canadian researchers who are coming home to further their thriving research careers3.

The restrictions on the H1-B visa for workers makes it increasingly difficult for foreign talent to move to the United States. With Canada’s Express Entry visa program, the country is becoming a go-to location for migration for people looking to work in North America.

According to the census 2016, immigrants represented nearly 29% of the total population in Ontario, out of which Toronto housed the highest proportion of immigrants which is 46.1 %*.

The Government of Canada plays a critical role in enabling immigration of talent into the country. The government through its Temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) and its pilot program – Global Talent Stream, allows employers in Canada to hire foreign nationals and skilled workforce, thereby facilitating immigration.

Canada, and Toronto in particular, doesn’t stop at promoting immigration but also celebrates diversity. The city of Toronto that boasts of the linguistic diversity of more than 1601 languages, lauds, and revels in it. Brampton, a suburban city in the Greater Toronto Area, celebrates diversity through an event called the Carabram – an annual multicultural festival. The event is aimed at bringing communities together and promoting multiculturalism.

University Ecosystem

The University Ecosystem which is a critical cog in the technology ecosystem is faring well in Toronto. Approximately 37K fresh talent enrolled in Computer & Engineering-related courses last year. The universities and community colleges in Toronto offer courses in emerging technologies such as AI/ML, Database Management, and Computer Vision. The University of Toronto ranked 19th for the Most Technologically Advanced University in the world.

Here are a few highlights from the Universities in Toronto:

• The University of York launched a funding program in 2018 to support AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning research projects for industries and researchers. The program provides funding of ~$10,000 per research project.
• The University of Toronto has partnered with George Brown College, a community college in Toronto and has contributed to various research projects such as remote-controlled air-craft systems, autonomous drones to medical research nanosatellites, etc.
• Community colleges such as Centennial College, Humber College, and Seneca offered digital courses in Cloud, IoT, and AI, while Centennial College in partnership with Trent University offered courses on Data Analytics.

With an aim for Toronto, and Canada at large, to take a lead in the Artificial Intelligence and the Deep Learning space, and to produce the world’s largest number of deep learning graduates – the vector institute, an AI lab, has been set up in Toronto. This institute has members from the University of Toronto at its core which includes the Chief Scientific Advisor of the institute, Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “Godfather of Deep Learning.”

Toronto - University Ecosystem

Job Roles and Job Families that are growing rapidly in Toronto

To gain a detailed understanding of the technology landscape of Toronto, DRAUP conducted a comprehensive analysis of approximately more than 1,000,000 profiles to structure job roles into Job Families. Three unique job families emerged as a result of the study. They include Database Management, Machine Learning, and Cryptography. Here’s a detailed analysis of these job families:

Database Management

The first job family in discussion is, Database Management which includes tasks like designing, developing, delivering, and implementing solutions for large scale data, monitoring complex databases, performing administration and engineering for multiple production databases, to name a few. Toronto is a fast-growing region (MSA – Metropolitan Statistical Area) for Database Management with a talent pool of 19,000 resources, employed by leading tech and BFSI companies such as Scotiabank, TD Bank, Oracle, and Salesforce. The following image presents a snapshot of the breakup of talent availability across the various roles under the umbrella of Database management.

Talent snapshot - Database management

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is one technology that finds its application across multiple use cases ranging from surveillance to customer service, and Toronto is significantly rich in talent in the space. With workloads that include analyzing and interpreting data, generating prescriptive, and predictive insights, developing new analytical models for organizations, etc., Toronto has approximately 16,000 Machine Learning talent. The resources are majorly employed as Machine Learning Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, and Applied Scientists. Google, IBM, TD Bank, and RBC are the top employers for Machine Learning talent.

Talent Snapshot - Machine Learning


Another major job family identified by the DRAUP study is Cryptography. This branch of technology encompasses workloads that include defining and developing security architecture for new products, working as part of a team to develop and upgrade security solutions for the product line, prototyping new features that will enable and secure peer-to-peer communication over heterogeneous networks, etc.

Toronto does not have a scaled presence of Cryptography-based roles with a total talent of 950 employees. Blockchain Development and Network Security Engineering employ the majority of the Cryptography talent in Toronto. The following image gives a detailed breakup of the number of resources across various job roles in Cryptography.

Talent Snapshot - Cryptography

Advantage Toronto

A city that ranked seventh in the global livability Index 2019 by the Economist, Toronto is definitely attracting and retaining the best Engineering talent in the world. This is a reason why Start-ups are thronging Toronto. The Toronto-Waterloo Region Corridor is said to be a global center of talent, growth, innovation, and discovery. This 100km stretch is the second-largest technology cluster2 in North America.

With the likes of Uber, Amazon, and Microsoft setting up shops in Toronto and investing heavily, it is evident that the city hasn’t failed to attract the big names in the industry as well.

The trifecta of a good talent landscape, flourishing university ecosystem, and diversity owing to active immigration have been key drivers of the burgeoning technology ecosystem in Toronto.

Is your organization looking to leverage the rich Engineering Talentof Toronto? Drop us a mail at for expert guidance on setting up Global Centers of Excellence in Toronto.


  • * – Statistics Canada
  • 1 – Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2016
  • 3 – Press Release titled ‘Canada’s Brain Gain. Round 2.‘ featured in Government of Canada Website.

  • Engineering Talent
  • technology ecosystem
  • Technology Talent
  • Technology Trends
  • Toronto Engineering Talent
  • Toronto Tech Talent
DRAUP Team, Zinnov,
Saranya Elango, Marketing, Zinnov

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