Chicago Tech Series Part 1: Behind the numbers

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JLL Research’s recent technology office outlook revealed incredible opportunity in the Chicago tech sector and we’re here to look behind the numbers.

Chicago tech stats


“Acquisitions, IPOs and mergers of Chicago’s companies in 2016 signaled the strength of the tech scene. Investors also get a higher return here than any other city, as our tech companies solve problems that help larger companies’ customers,” says JLL Research Manager Hailey Harrington. “For example, UPS bought Coyote Logistics because its in-house software added to the portfolio of supply chain solutions for the UPS customer base.”

Why such a strong return on investment? Let’s start with Chicago’s highly educated, diverse workforce and growing millennial population. From Northwestern University up north to University of Chicago down south, the city is home to world-class universities that attract top students from across the Midwest and around the world. We also have the second-largest millennial population by metro.

Rather than a brain drain to the coasts, these recent graduates are staying put in Chicago in increasing numbers as local tech companies increase headcounts. Chicago’s broad industry mix of companies, featuring more than 40 corporate headquarters (including dozens of Fortune 500s), provides fertile ground for startups that are scaling up or just getting off the ground.

Another reason young tech talent prefers the Windy City is livability. Like New York or San Francisco, Chicago offers a live/work/play, 24-hour environment, but it differentiates itself on affordability. Employee wages are up but housing prices remain relatively reasonable, making for a more attainable and comfortable urban lifestyle

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore Chicago tech from all sides, looking at employment trends, workplace strategy and ways tech companies can be more efficient with capital by leveraging real estate. Stay tuned!


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