More business leaders and employees in tech see Calgary as a city of opportunity

February 7, 2023
Life in Calgary New Economy Research & Reports
Calgary Winter City Photo

Photo Credit: Travel Alberta

A strong, diversified economy, a growing tech sector with more career options, and a quality of life out of reach in other cities have more business leaders and employees in tech seeing Calgary as a city of opportunity, says new perceptions research for Calgary Economic Development.

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.

“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, Calgary Economic Development (CED). “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.”

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

  • Ninety per cent of the business leaders surveyed have a positive impression of Calgary (up one per cent from 2021) and almost three-quarters (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.   

“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. “Talent mobility increasingly revolves around the promise of an improved quality of life and Calgary offers that to a lot of people.”

Telling the Calgary story in Canada and key markets worldwide is a key focus for CED. Our award-winning talent attraction campaign Live Tech, Love Life was launched in 2020 and is a focal point of our marketing. It targets select national and international markets and has enhanced the narrative of Calgary.

“Our success increasing awareness and improving perceptions of Calgary is encouraging,” said Parry. “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.”

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.

Other important findings include:  

  • Among workers, 58 per cent said they see Calgary as a place to build a career. A similar number (61 per cent) consider the city to be diverse and inclusive. It was the first year these attributes of Calgary were tested.  
  • Almost three quarters of workers (72 per cent) have a favourable overall impression of Calgary (up three per cent from 2021.) Among Canadian workers, Calgary is increasingly viewed as a favourable destination. Almost six in 10 (56 per cent) respondents said they would consider moving to Calgary (up 12 per cent from 2021). 

For more information on working in Calgary’s tech innovation ecosystem, visit Live Tech, Love Life. Visit the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund page for more information on the City’s investments to drive innovation and spur transformative economic development in Calgary. 

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