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Just 2% of Philly IT jobs are freelance and other tech community Census data

Philadelphia's tech community leaders are often considered entrepreneurs and freelancers but, truth be told, most of the IT jobs here are with the region's big employers.

Updated 2/9/11 @ 12:51 p.m.: In an earlier version of this story, an editor chose an inaccurate headline, though the reporting was correct. Women account for roughly 49 percent of city IT jobs.

The Greater Philadelphia area is home to the offices of technical industry giants such as Comcast, SAP AG, Unisys Corporation and Sungard Data Systems, among others, which hold the bulk of some 12,510 information technology jobs throughout the City of Philadelphia, according to 2010 American Community Survey data.
As U.S. Census data continues to be released, shaping funding and legislative redistricting, a new decade is always an opportunity to look to see just what a community looks like. Philadelphia’s tech community leaders are often considered entrepreneurs and freelancers but, truth be told, most of the IT jobs here are with the region’s big employers.

Below, more lessons to be had:

  • Making up nearly two percent of all city jobs, IT industry positions have a median income of around $74,979 as of 2009—slightly more than double the median Philadelphia household income of $36,669.
  • Most IT jobs in the city are in management and professional positions, though positions in sales, maintenance and repairs also claim a good share of industry workers. These positions include software engineers, support specialists, customer service representatives, system and network administrators, equipment installers and repair specialists.
  • Of those positions, a great majority of industry employment — around 81 percent — comes from private companies. However, federal and state government offices also maintain a noticeable presence in the IT employment scene, claiming about nine percent of the city’s IT workers.
  • Self-employment in the city’s IT industry is relatively low at less than two percent.
  • In terms of gender, employment in the IT industry in Philadelphia is nearly equal for males and females at 51.1 percent and 48.9 percent, respectively. This proportioning is somewhat disparate from the city’s gender makeup, which as of 2009 consisted of 48.6 percent males and 53.2 percent females.
  • Philadelphia’s IT job scene is somewhat small in comparison to other large U.S. cities like Washington, D.C. and behemoth New York City, with 19,102 and 126,976 information technology jobs as tabulated in 2009, respectively.
  • The city still fosters a vibrant sector of up-and-coming technology companies, putting it among the nation’s 10 largest. However, the divide between big and biggest is extreme: in 2010, the region saw $431 million in VC deals (up from $79.6 million in 2006, but down from dot-com-infused 2000), compared to $8.5 billion in Silicon Valley and $2.5 billion in New England.
  • Unemployment in the IT industry stands at 8.1 percent, which is somewhat lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.2 percent and significantly lower than Philadelphia’s 11.2 percent unemployment rate.
  • In 2000, the year of the infamous dot-com bubble burst, IT jobs in the city totaled 18,491 positions. Industry jobs have slowly moved from the city or dissolved altogether since then, ultimately netting a 3.8 percent loss of IT positions.
  • The 1990s was an even more vibrant decade for Philadelphia’s IT industry, with over 21,000 industry jobs that made up nearly 3 percent of the city’s career opportunities during that time period, though a movement toward more creative-based positions is clear.

The following is a report done in partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods Program, the capstone class for the Temple Journalism Department.

Companies: SAP / SunGard / Unisys

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