More tech leaders see Calgary as a land of opportunity

Survey finds the city is quickly becoming a new hub for innovation 

An annual survey from Calgary Economic Development indicates more business leaders and employees in tech are seeing the city as one of opportunity.

“People are taking notice of what is happening in Calgary because they can see a future for themselves and their families here,” said Brad Parry, president and chief executive officer of Calgary Economic Development, in a statement. “We've seen the momentum build over the last few years, but we also know we're competing with other cities, and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal now.

“Our success [in] increasing awareness and improving perceptions of Calgary is encouraging. In late 2022, StatsCan noted the biggest influx of young people to Calgary and Alberta since 2014, so we have an enormous opportunity, but we must continue to work together to ensure we are telling our city's story.”

Research firm Stone-Olafson surveyed 1,875 business leaders and workers from Oct. 4 to 18, 2022, across 10 markets in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Here are some key findings:

  • Ninety per cent of the business leaders surveyed have a positive impression of Calgary (up one per cent from 2021) and 74 per cent say Calgary is quickly becoming a new hub for tech and innovation (up six per cent from 2021).

  • Seventy-five per cent of business leaders say Calgary is better for doing business than other markets they work in, and 55 per cent would consider moving or expanding to Calgary (up seven per cent from 2021).

  • Seventy-six per cent of business leaders (up six per cent from 2021) and 51 per cent of workers (up four per cent from 2021) say Calgary has a diverse economy.

  • Among workers, 58 per cent said they see Calgary as a place to build a career. 61 per cent consider the city to be diverse and inclusive. It was the first year these attributes of Calgary were tested.

  • Seventy-two per cent of workers have a favourable overall impression of Calgary (up three per cent from 2021.) Among Canadian workers, Calgary is increasingly viewed as a favourable destination.

  • Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they would consider moving to Calgary (up 12 per cent from 2021).

“The upward trend in perceptions was evident in 2021, and that continued in 2022 as more people see Calgary as a city of opportunity and potential,” said Mathew Stone, partner at Stone-Olafson, in a news release. “Talent mobility increasingly revolves around the promise of an improved quality of life and Calgary offers that to a lot of people.”

Calgary Economic Development said telling the city’s story across Canada and in key markets worldwide is a key focus, and its award-winning talent attraction campaign Live Tech, Love Life was launched in 2020. It is a focal point of marketing, targeting select national and international markets, and has enhanced the narrative of Calgary.

“The steady gains in perceptions in recent years reinforce the need to keep telling Calgary's story to increase awareness and ensure our city is on the radar and can compete with other jurisdictions for companies, capital and talent,” said the organization.

“In addition to major investments in tech and other sectors in the last two years and positive economic news, Calgary was ranked the third-most livable city in the world (tied with Zurich) and number one in North America by The Economist Intelligence Unit last June.”