Contributors: Audrey Pitcher and Rachel Stevenson

Tampa Bay’s technology labor pool is growing rapidly, reports Margie Manning in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

According to the CBRE Tech Talent Scorecard, which ranks U.S. and Canadian markets by their tech labor growth, Tampa Bay has increased its tech workforce by 55.3 percent between 2011 and 2016.

With the rapid growth in the field of technology and specialty skill requirements sought after by tech companies, businesses are driven to places like Tampa with growing tech workforces.

Bill Obregon, Senior Vice President of CBRE, states, “The fight for tech talent is putting Tampa on the radar for many companies because it’s leading in key areas like quality of life, pro-business climate, and population growth, where Tampa Bay ranks fourth in the nation.”

Quality-of-life considerations have also led tech companies to diversify their workforce and expand their inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals.

A 2002 Brookings article by Gary Gates and Richard Florida, titled Technology and Tolerance: Diversity and High Tech Growth, observed that business location selection made based on the diversity of the city was directly correlated with the success of the business.

“Our theory is that a city’s diversity—its level of tolerance for a wide range of people—is key to its success in attracting talented people,” said Gates and Florida. “Diverse, inclusive communities that welcome unconventional people—gays, immigrants, artists, and free-thinking ‘bohemians’ —are ideal for nurturing the creativity and innovation that characterize the knowledge economy.”

The two put their theory to the test using data from various sources and found “that a leading indicator of a metropolitan area’s high-technology success is a large gay population.”

Fifteen years later, their theories ring true, especially in LGBT-dense populated cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg.

According to Camille Crittenden at the Huffington Post, LGBTQ+ inclusivity is associated with higher productivity and workplace satisfaction.

And there are several resources and organizations to connect LGBT people with tech jobs.

Nonprofit organizations such as StartOut, Lesbians Who Tech, and the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technology Professionals (NOGLSTP) help LGBTQ+ individuals find work and network within the industry.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) and Out for Undergrad also provide valuable resources and networking opportunities to LGBTQ+ students, setting them up for success in the technology and science industries.

Meanwhile, large corporations like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have hired employee affinity groups to improve their workplaces for LGBTQ+ employees.

To read the Brookings article from 2002, click here.

To read the Tampa Bay Business Journal article, click here.