Categorized As:Business Growth
Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL: Upcoming Economy League Analysis
Technology is quickly changing the way we live and work. Just two decades ago, many families did not have a computer at home. Today, most people have a computer that fits in their pocket, allowing them to communicate globally, shop for nearly any good or service, access any form of digital entertainment, or simply hail a ride. The rapid expansion of tech into all facets of our lives is also having a transformative effect on the economy and job market. Today, tech jobs are embedded in all sectors of the economy, and tech skills are increasingly vital to economic mobility for workers across industries. In Greater Philadelphia, employers have added more than 25,000 new tech jobs since 2002, equivalent to 25% of all net job growth in the region during that period.
As our region continues to lag other metros in economic and employment growth, figuring out how best to leverage tech’s potential could pay substantial dividends. For, while it’s hard to deny that our city and region have been experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years – a burgeoning Center City is bustling with activity and development; our profile on the global stage is expanding; and there is a growing sense of optimism about our region’s potential – longstanding, significant challenges are still holding Greater Philadelphia back. Too many of our people face significant impediments to economic opportunity. Poverty remains high, labor force participation is lower than in peer metros, and many of our young people do not have the skills needed to move into family-sustaining careers. At the same time, many companies struggle to find the skilled employees they need to compete and grow.
Against this backdrop, the recent blossoming of Greater Philadelphia’s tech sector and the proliferation of area tech jobs in non-tech industries are major bright spots. A wide range of stakeholders are already working hard to meet employer needs and expand career pathways in tech, and there are opportunities to align and scale these efforts. Given tech’s remarkable economic and job potential, finding ways to accelerate this momentum would advance growth and expand opportunity across Greater Philadelphia.
Recognizing tech’s rapid growth and the potential to build on the good work already happening in the region, the Economy League – with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Lenfest Foundation, SEI, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Graduate! Philadelphia – led a research and strategy initiative to better understand and strengthen Greater Philadelphia’s tech workforce. Drawing upon labor market data analysis, extensive interviews, and input from a diverse steering committee, our analysis sizes and highlights key characteristics of Greater Philadelphia’s tech workforce; identifies gaps between employer demand and labor supply in our market; and sets forth strategies to ensure that area firms have the talent to meet future needs and residents have access to emerging opportunities.
Join the Economy League on May 2nd as we release this in-depth analysis of our region’s technology workforce and a comprehensive action framework to expand, deepen and diversify that workforce.