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Philadelphia: The No. 1 city for diversity in sciences, tech

December 20, 2017

Fabiola Cineas, Business Editor, Philadelphia Magazine


Philadelphia is the nation’s no. 1 city for diversity in STEM, according to a new ranking from the financial technology company SmartAsset.


The 2017 ranking released on Tuesday looks at data from 50 U.S. cities with the largest STEM work forces to determine who had the most racial and gender diversity.


When the organization put Philly’s STEM workforce under a microscope, the city came out on top with an index score of about 78. This means the city scored relatively high in both racial and gender diversity.


For racial diversity, Philadelphia had the fourth best score. 59 percent of workers are White, 18 percent are Asian, and less than five percent are Hispanic or Latinx. Around 18 percent of people employed in STEM jobs in Philly are Black, which is the third highest rate in ranking’s top 10.


For gender diversity, women make up around 33 percent of the total STEM workforce, the fourth-highest total in SmartAsset’s study.


Philly jumped four spots to first place this year, ranking just above cities like Charlotte, Sacramento, New York and Oakland. Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. rounded out the top 10.


Overall, women are still largely underrepresented, SmartAsset found. On average, women only occupy about 26.4 percent of STEM jobs in each of the 50 cities analyzed in the study.


Though Philly came out on top in this ranking, there is still a lot of room to bolster the number of women and people of color in STEM-based occupations. In the next ten years, Greater Philadelphia could see 26,000 to 44,000 job openings in IT, according to a recent report from the Economy League. The report also identified four key strategies to improve the diversity of Philly’s STEM workforce. These include aligning and scaling educational and tech training programs and raising awareness of potential tech careers among underrepresented populations.


“Greater Philadelphia’s tech workforce is slightly more inclusive than the U.S. tech workforce, but underrepresentation of women and people of color remains a significant barrier for individual opportunity and business growth in the region,” the report said.


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