The Innovative Cities And City Clusters In The Era Of Digital Economy: A Talent Perspective

Innovative Cities And City Clusters In The Era Of Digital Economy: A Talent Perspective


As the digital economy is fast developing on a global scale, digitalization is penetrating into every aspect of the social economy and becoming a driving force of urbanization. Pushing for the collaboration and innovation of traditional industries with digital technology, and establishing regional and global innovation centers and world-class city clusters are now becoming the new battlefield for global competitiveness.  

In searching for ways to unleash the potential of digital economy through talent strategy, and build up innovative cities and city clusters, LinkedIn China and Tsinghua SEM Center for Internet Development and Governance (CIDG), jointly launched a collaborative report entitled Innovative Cities And City Clusters In The Era Of Digital Economy: A Talent Perspective. 

First of its kind, this report offered a global perspective with a comprehensive analysis of the digital talent status quo through looking into the employment, skill set and the flow of digital talent across 26 cities and 11 city clusters world-wide, and how regions and urban cities have deployed varied digital talent strategy for the development of digital economy and their perspective competitiveness. Meanwhile, this report also serves the purpose of providing insights for policy-making, corporate development and talent skill set preparedness. Here are some of the key findings from the report:

Global digital talent flow frequently between cities, Shanghai and Shenzhen listed among the global Top 5 in terms of talent attraction. Overall, the most frequent digital talent migration is between the Boston-Washington city cluster and the SF Bay Area, followed by the migration between the YRD City Cluster, the GBA City Cluster and the Triple J (Jing-Jin-Ji) City Cluster in China. Viewed from the single-city flow, the five most attractive cities for digital talent are Dublin, Santiago (Chile), Shanghai, Shenzhen and Bangalore.

Migration of digital talents among city clusters


Digital economy speed up penetration into non-ICT industries, digital talent in city clusters in China strong in manufacturing, finance and consumer goods sectors. The report showed that the proportion of digital talent in non-ICT industries is higher than that in ICT industries overall. Among non-ICT industries, those with the highest proportion of digital talent are manufacturing, healthcare, finance, corporate services, consumer goods, education, and social media.

SF Bay Area has strong competitive edge in tech skills, Triple J (Jing-Jin-Ji) city cluster and YRD city cluster strong in disruptive tech skills. Based on LinkedIn’s Skills Genome, this research calculated the relative penetration rate of tech skills and disruptive tech skills across 26 cities, and observed that city clusters that have competitive advantage in both tech skills and disruptive tech skills include: Boston-Washington city cluster, SF Bay Area, UK-Ireland city cluster, Sydney Bay Area and Bangalore. City clusters that are competitive in disruptive tech skills include: Germany city cluster, Triple J (Jing-Jin-Ji) city cluster, YRD city cluster and Singapore. The balance between tech skills and disruptive skills is key to future policy-making by the government and authorities.   

Distribution of Digital Talent Sources among City Clusters


In an environment full of dynamics and opportunities, China is suggested to speed up the cultivation of the next-generation digital talent, actively promote the talent exchange cross-regions globally, and seek breakthroughs in disruptive technology innovation in the meantime. It is worth to mention from the report that two city clusters in China including Triple J (Jing-Jin-Ji) city cluster and YRD city cluster are identified as most competitive in disruptive technology skills, along with other city clusters including Germany city cluster and Singapore.

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