In a recent report released by Campus Philly and produced in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber), Philadelphia Works, and the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, the region received an exceptional grade for its growth in bachelor’s degree-holding young people and retention of college graduates. That’s good news for organizations seeking talent, including those considering locating or expanding in the region.

Key Takeaways

Conducted by Econsult Solutions, Inc., the study, Philadelphia Momentum: Leveraging College Graduate Retention for Continued Growth in Greater Philadelphia, showed:

    • The number of college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds increased by close to 200,000 individuals in the region over the past two decades (2000-2021), and approximately half of those reside in the city itself, which saw a 155% increase. The 155% growth in Philadelphia leads the nation and outpaces the national average of 62%. In 2021, there were 445,700 college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds in the region – 152,500 in the City of Philadelphia (92,500 more than in 2000) and 293,500 in the rest of the region (88,900 more than in 2000).
    • 50% of the region’s college graduates choose to stay in Greater Philadelphia after graduation. That’s an important point, considering the region is home to approximately 130 post-secondary schools and produces a talent pool among the largest in the United States.
  • Greater Philadelphia’s leadership in the life sciences, cell and gene therapy, and technology sectors – and the region’s potential for further growth in these areas – underscores the importance of aligning educational offerings with industry needs.

“Campus Philly stands at the forefront of efforts to retain college graduates in Greater Philadelphia while continuing to identify innovative ways to address the region’s talent growth goals,” said Dr. Jennifer Kebea, President, Campus Philly, in releasing the report.

Amplifying the impact of the region’s talent on growing industries, including the life sciences and technology sectors, is an initiative of the Chamber, which will be working with Campus Philly over the coming weeks and months to share the report’s key findings with organizations who have an eye on the region’s talent pool.

“Our region’s talent is one of its greatest assets and opportunities. As demonstrated in this report, the growth of Philadelphia’s talent pool — and the desire of students to live and work in Philadelphia after graduation — will tremendously impact our regional economic growth. The Chamber will continue to build our diverse workforce in support of high-quality jobs,” said Sarah Steltz, Vice President, Economic Competitiveness, the Chamber.

Responding to the Report

CampusESP is a parent and family college enrollment platform used by more than 350 colleges in the U.S. “In addition to helping a number of local institutions support their students while enrolled — we’re proud to call 12 area colleges partners, including Temple, Drexel, and La Salle — CampusESP has first-hand seen the benefits of these students staying in Philadelphia as they have helped enrich and expand our staff,” said Dave Becker, Co-Founder & CEO, CampusESP. “We’ve been fortunate to hire interns and new team members from local universities, and we believe that supporting local graduates not only benefits our company but the start-up and tech scenes in Philly as well. Twenty-five percent of our current team we hired directly out of college.”

Development Counselors International (DCI) is an economic development marketing firm working to increase business inquiries for destinations around the globe, including the Chamber. “Access to talent – and importantly, a future pipeline of talent – continues to be the most important global factor among business decision-makers. Greater Philadelphia’s young, diverse, and educated workforce strategically positions the region for future corporate investment,” said Robyn Domber, Senior Vice President of Research, DCI. “The region has taken great strides towards this goal, and continued efforts to attract, retain, and foster educational opportunities for young Philadelphians are essential to keep the region ahead of the curve.” 

Region’s Collaboration Will Support Next Steps

Campus Philly, with the partnership of the Chamber, will be leading the region in efforts to sustain the growth, including three priorities:

  • expanding college access and post-secondary opportunities for all residents
  • retaining Generation Z college graduates
  • attracting new residents to Greater Philadelphia in key industries, including life sciences.

“Moving forward, collaboration among regional organizations will be essential to realize the comprehensive strategy needed to address evolving workforce needs in Greater Philadelphia,” Dr. Kebea said.

The Report is Making Headlines

In addition to linking to Philadelphia Momentum, you can read media coverage about the report and its findings here:

Billy Penn at WHYY 

The Philadelphia Business Journal 

The Philadelphia Inquirer 

For more stories about talent in the Greater Philadelphia region or for more information about locating or expanding here, visit the Select Greater Philadelphia website.