Chicago Tech Effect

The Chicago Tech Effect is the most comprehensive analysis of Chicago’s tech ecosystem to-date, including an overview of the policy priorities needed to help maintain the city’s place as a global technology hub. The study creates a foundation for strengthening Chicago’s diverse talent pipeline and ensuring a positive regulatory environment that allows the tech ecosystem to grow and thrive.


Chicago is one of America’s leading tech hubs with 18% growth in the tech workforce in the last decade.

  • Chicago’s tech ecosystem is essential to the city’s economy, employing over 106,000 people – 8% of the Chicago workforce – and spurring significant economic activity and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues for our state and local governments.
  • The tech ecosystem grew 18% in Chicago over the past decade compared to the overall economy, which saw growth of just 1%. Tech has also demonstrated greater resilience and supported Chicago’s recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The growth is due in part to new start-ups, but also because tech cuts across every industry in Chicago, from government to health care, Fortune 500 and small and mid-sized businesses.
  • Drawing people to Chicago are the region’s deep bench of talent from local universities, a diverse workforce pipeline, central location, and affordable cost of living.

Widespread tech growth in Chicago is fueling upward mobility and greater economic equality.

  • The median wage in the tech ecosystem is $42/hour – 1.5X higher than the $28/hour for the overall economy. Even jobs that have an educational attainment below a bachelor’s degrees experience higher wages on average.
  • Of the ten largest tech occupations in Chicago, half are accessible to those without a college degree.
  • Tech opportunities cut across Chicago’s diverse economy – close to 50 of tech ecosystem jobs are in industries not traditionally considered tech. In today’s ever evolving world, digital skills and jobs that leverage technology.

Chicago outperforms national averages for diversity in tech and must continue to invest in efforts to support equity.

  • Chicago boasts the highest share of female founder of any of the top 20 tech hubs in the world with 34% of startups being founded by women, over two times the global average.
  • The city’s diversity supports greater inclusion in tech. Chicago’s tech ecosystem sees greater Black and Latino participation than the national average, with 32% of diverse participation compared to the national U S average of 19%. More must be done to close the representation gap.

Download the full report!