Soft Tech

The Soft Tech Archetype comprises employment in establishments in computer systems design; data processing; web hosting; software design, publishing and distribution; and business-to-business electronic markets. It also includes electronic game design and development, as well as website and app design and development. The largest component is computer systems design, which accounted for about 68,000 of the 91,000 jobs in this Archetype in 2016. In addition, a large number of workers in this Archetype worked at home - almost 30,000 (in addition to the 91,000 with a usual place of work).

This is a high-growth Archetype, adding more than 19,000 jobs between 2006 and 2016, a growth of almost 27 percent during the period.

Table 12: Soft Tech Archetype Employment, GGH, 2006 and 2016




% Change

Soft Tech





Archetypes total





Total GGH core employment





Total GGH employment





Employment in this high-skilled, knowledge-intensive Archetype is highly clustered, with a dominant cluster in Downtown Toronto, and significant clusters in three SKIDs: Markham, the Airport, and Waterloo, as well as in North York City Centre and in office parks along the Don Valley Parkway.

The urban environment characteristics of downtown Toronto, the SKIDs and North York City Centre have been described above. Inner-suburban office parks, such as those found along the Don Valley Parkway, share many traits with SKIDs. They are planned, single-use, suburban, and corporate. However, the inner-suburban parks tend to be denser, with less surface parking than those in outer suburbs. They often have sidewalks and can support walking. They also tend to have a relatively high level of transit service - usually frequent bus service.

In 2016, the biggest share of Soft Tech jobs was found in the City of Toronto - almost 44,000. Toronto also accounted for the largest increase in Soft Tech jobs of any municipality - adding 13,000 new jobs between 2006 and 2016, almost two-thirds of the region's Soft Tech job growth. Many of these new jobs have located in Downtown Toronto. Other Soft Tech job growth has been focused in the Waterloo SKID, the Airport SKID, and North York City Centre, while the Markham SKID lost Soft Tech jobs. (See Maps 13 and 14.)

As a knowledge-intensive sector that creates and maintains platform technologies for other industries, we would expect this sector to expand further, and continue to see clustered growth, building on existing clusters and agglomeration economies.

Map 13: Soft Tech Archetype Employment, GGH, 2016

Map 14: Soft Tech Archetype Employment Change, GGH, 2006-2016