Meet Greater Philadelphia’s Workforce

May 1, 2012 — Northern DE, Southern NJ, Southwestern PA: One of Greater Philadelphia’s strongest assets in attracting new and expanding businesses is its large, diverse, and high-quality workforce. The 2012 Regional Report, released by Select Greater Philadelphia, finds that the labor force enables companies in the 11-county region to find skilled employees with the levels of education, experience and training needed to operate profitably.

“The productivity of a region’s workforce is critical as labor compensation is the single-largest factor for virtually every economic sector, constituting an average 43% of total sales,” said William Sasso, Chairman of Select Greater Philadelphia and Chairman of Stradley Ronon.

“Beyond the key factors of location, livability and the cost of doing business, area business people who move to Greater Philadelphia say that the area’s workforce was the biggest factor in their decision to locate or expand in the region,” said Tom Morr, President & CEO of Select Greater Philadelphia.

Some of the primary characteristics of Greater Philadelphia’s workforce include:

  • A high level of productivity as shown by $130,900 of gross regional product per worker in 2011, well above the U.S. figure of $114,900.
  • The 5th highest labor force among the nation’s largest metro areas, with a total of 3.16 million workers in February 2012.
  • More than 956,000 workers in management, business, financial and professional and related occupations in 2010, 33.7% of all jobs.
  • About 925,400 jobs in occupations in 2010 requiring some post-secondary education for an entry-level position; the 34% share of total employment was 6th highest among the 15 largest metro areas.
  • Almost 608,200 jobs, or 22.3% of the total, were in occupations needing a bachelor’s degree or higher to obtain an entry-level position in 2010; 6th highest among the 15 largest MSAs. In addition, 127,000 jobs required an advanced degree; the 4.7% share ranked 5th among the 15 largest metro areas.

The quality of the region’s workforce is shown by the concentrations of employment in occupational and industry clusters that require highly skilled and productive workers in 2010, including:

  • 147,000 workers in information and communications technology (ICT) occupations.
  • Almost 937,500 persons employed in creative class occupations as defined by Richard Florida, accounting for 33.1% of total regional employment.
  • 151,400 workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), 5.4% of total employment or 23.91 STEM jobs per 1,000 residents.
  • More than 1,149,000 workers in knowledge occupations as defined by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), constituting 40.6% of the total employment in 2010.
  • Nearly 446,400 jobs in the professional and business services (PBS) industry sector in 2012; more than 313,000 were in sub-sectors including scientific research and development, law, accounting, computers, scientific and technical, and management with employment concentration ratios of 1.5 or higher.

Greater Philadelphia attracts industries requiring skilled workers because of its high levels of educational attainment. In 2010, 32.9% of the residents 25 years and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, fully five percentage points above the U.S. figure, while 13.1% had advanced degrees compared to the U.S. share of 10.3%.

And the pipeline of educated workers in the region is large — during the 2009/10 academic year, colleges and universities in Greater Philadelphia awarded 85,700 certificates and degrees, 79% of which were bachelor’s or higher.

Complementing its highly skilled workforce, the region’s attractive quality of life is shown by the more than 43,700 persons that were employed in arts and culture occupations as defined by New England Foundation for the Arts in 2010.

Media Contact:
Bryan Evans | 215-790-3831 | [email protected]

About Select Greater Philadelphia

Select Greater Philadelphia (Select) is an economic development marketing organization dedicated to attracting companies to the Greater Philadelphia region. Select assists companies interested in the vicinity by providing detailed information about the 11-county area and a one-stop connection to numerous resources that help make informed decisions about locating to the region. Through global marketing efforts, Select works to promote the region’s key assets to help build the area’s economy. The Greater Philadelphia region encompasses northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. Select is a private, non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit or call 215-790-3777.