Economics / Jobs / Resources / Workplace culture

Philly beat New York in job growth

And tech jobs might have had something to do with it.

Center City at night. (Photo by Flickr user Michael Righi, under a Creative Commons license)

A report by real estate company CBRE published last week has some good news for Philly: for the first time in 25 years, Philly jobs are growing at a faster clip than in New York.’s Jane Von Bergen shared some stats from the report over the weekend: payrolls in Philly grew by “an annual average of 2.8 percent between March 2016 and March 2017, while in the five boroughs of New York City, payrolls grew by 1.8 percent,” Von Bergen wrote.

(For important context: Philly’s 2.8 percent growth means 19,200 jobs were added, while in New York, the slower 1.8 growth clip equals 75,900 jobs created.)

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The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia also took a look at the job scene in Philly, with a sharper focus on tech. Pair the two together and you’ll see a clear narrative: whatever the story may be around job growth in Philadelphia, tech jobs are part of the picture (don’t take our word for it: here’s a Bob Moul tweetstorm on the topic).

The new analysis yielded an noteworthy stat: over 102,000 people in the region hold IT occupations. Since 2002, employers have added 25,000 tech jobs, which equals to 25 percent of all net job growth in the Greater Philadelphia region during that period.

Backed by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (and contributions from orgs like the Lenfest Foundation and Ben Franklin Technology Partners), the report put together a steering committee made up of tech scene leaders like Tracey Welson-Rossman and Moul to lay out growth strategies.

Here are key six findings from the report:

  • Sure, Philly’s tech workforce is large and growing, but authors say it’s “constrained by an undersupply of qualified candidates and a lack of diversity.”
  • IT employers are struggling to fill high-skill jobs.
  • Employers need “high-skill workers who can learn continuously, problem solve, and adapt” to the changing times.
  • One-third of the region’s IT workforce holds less than a bachelor’s degree.
  • There’s a need for more understanding of the variety of jobs, industries, and career paths in tech.
  • Greater Philadelphia’s IT education and training ecosystem is wide-ranging, but it can better meet regional market needs.

“The real opportunity here is in middle-skill jobs,” Acting Executive Director Josh Sevin said. “Tech as you know it is more than just coding. It includes lots of other jobs and occupations and entry points. There’s a lot of room for people who aren’t in tech.”

And according to the Brookings Institute (which also released a recent report of Philly’s tech growth), the ideal picture is one where that middle-skilled workforce leverages the bullish climate to become a local version of the PayPal mafia.

If only wishing made it so.

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