Economy League of Greater Philadelphia presents research and solutions to deepen and diversify the region's technology workforce
New “Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL” Report Released during Philly Tech Week Outlines Current IT Workforce Issues and Action Plan Framework to Strengthen Tech Talent Pool
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CONTACT: Amanda Piccirilli
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PHILADELPHIA – The Economy League today released an in-depth analysis of the region’s technology workforce and an action framework developed with regional business, civic, and government leaders to deepen and diversify Greater Philadelphia’s tech talent pool. The Economy League presented its Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL report at a leadership forum held in conjunction with Philly Tech Week with more than 200 in attendance.
The new analysis shows that more than 102,000 people in the region work in IT occupations, and area employers have added 25,000 new tech jobs since 2002 – equivalent to 25% of all net job growth in Greater Philadelphia during that period. Projections indicate that over the next 10 years Greater Philadelphia could see between 26,000 and 44,000 job openings across a range of IT occupations including software developer, network administrator, and computer user support specialist.
Key findings from the Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL analysis include:
Greater Philadelphia’s tech workforce is large and growing, but is constrained by an undersupply of qualified candidates and a lack of diversity. Women hold just 26% of tech jobs in the region and African-Americans and Hispanics hold 10% and 4% of IT positions, respectively. While this is slightly more inclusive than most other U.S. metros, underrepresentation of women and people of color remains a significant barrier for individual opportunity and business growth in Greater Philadelphia.
IT employers in our region are struggling to fill high-skill job openings. Hard-to-fill occupations span the IT workforce spectrum from software developers to DevOps engineers to cybersecurity specialists to “big data” analysts. Given the rapid pace of change in technology, employers place a premium on workers who can learn continuously, problem solve, and adapt to evolving business needs.
Several tech occupations provide promising career on-ramps for middle-skill workers. While employers are feeling the biggest pinch for high-skill openings, an estimated 35,000 IT workers in Greater Philadelphia – one-third of the region’s tech workforce – holds less than a bachelor’s degree. Common middle-skill gateways jobs include computer support specialist, software tester, and web developer.
Many regional residents—from K-12 students to adults—do not understand the wide variety of jobs, industries, and career paths in tech. Awareness of IT job opportunities is limited in part due to the lack of integration of basic tech education into school curricula.
Greater Philadelphia’s IT education and training ecosystem is wide-ranging, but can better meet regional market needs. A wide range of stakeholders are working to meet employer needs and expand career pathways in tech, and there are opportunities to align and scale these efforts.
“Given our region’s ongoing struggle with slow overall economic growth, it’s all the more important to take a close look our tech workforce and understand how we can leverage it to drive growth and prosperity,” said Economy League Acting Executive Director Josh Sevin. “With this in-depth analysis, we have critical insights about our IT workforce and how we can capitalize on Greater Philadelphia’s tech talent opportunity.”
Drawing upon the Economy League’s market assessment, the Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL report includes an action framework to achieve the vision of a deep and diverse tech talent pool in Greater Philadelphia. Priority strategies outlined in the report include increasing incumbent worker training, aligning and scaling educational and tech training programs, raising awareness of potential tech careers among underrepresented populations, and improving access to ongoing data on tech talent in the region.
At this morning’s event, the Economy League announced early implementation efforts to advance key elements of the action framework. The Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG), an industry-led workforce partnership based in Chester County, announced that it will expand the community of regional employers that it convenes regularly to discuss shared IT workforce needs and solutions and expand an annual IT employer needs survey. The Philadelphia Regional Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (Philly SHRM) committed to engaging its member base of more than 1,400 HR professionals around IT hiring and training best practices.
The year-long research and strategy initiative was conducted with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation, SEI, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Graduate! Philadelphia. Development of the Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL analysis and action framework was guided by a steering committee comprised of more than 30 leaders from regional employers, higher education, workforce development organizations, government, philanthropy, and other civic organizations.
Click here to download the Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL report.
About The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia brings together leaders and organizations across all sectors to address the most challenging issues facing the Greater Philadelphia region. Built on our historic foundation of independent, high-quality analysis and practical insight, we spark new ideas, develop strategies, and galvanize action to make Greater Philadelphia globally competitive. For more information, visit economyleague.org.