Working in Philadelphia

Expats working in Philadelphia will find themselves in the economic centre of Pennsylvania and the sixth largest metropolitan economy in the USA.

The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (now officially called the NASDAQ OMX PHLX) as well as several Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, GlaxoSmithKline and Lockheed Martin.

Job market in Philadelphia

The job market in Philadelphia has not recovered from the economic downturn as well as some other US cities have, although it has slowly but steadily decreased unemployment levels. This has not had as much of an effect on people with degrees and those considered to be in the middle class – the majority of jobless residents are young, without a degree and from the inner city. Competition for jobs is high, and while not impossible, finding employment in Philadelphia can be difficult.

The industries that have suffered the most job losses in recent years are construction, manufacturing, retail and finance. At the same time, however, the leisure and hospitality industry in Philadelphia is showing signs of resurgence and tourism remains a major economic sector. Retail is another of the city’s largest sectors and, despite suffering some job losses, Philadelphia’s large shopping centres, such as the King of Prussia Mall, employ thousands of people.

The best performing sectors in the city are medicine and education, accounting for almost a third of the jobs in Philadelphia, with a large percentage of private employers coming from those industries. The University of Pennsylvania is the region’s largest employer, and aside from the five universities and six medical institutions that make up the rest of the list, the Comcast Corporation, American Airlines and Allied Barton Security Services also employ significant numbers of workers. 

The general work culture in Philadelphia is arguably shaped by the two defining characteristics of Philly’s culture in general. On the one hand is the spirit of hard work and determination which comes from the city’s blue-collar roots and, on the other, the spirit of creativity that stems from its emphasis on history and art.

Corporate culture varies from business to business, but the best companies to work for in Philadelphia are considered to be those which have a culture of innovation and getting the best from their employees by keeping them happy.

Finding a job in Philadelphia

Around a tenth of the workforce in Philadelphia was born outside of the USA. Most foreign workers in Philadelphia come from Asia, South America and Africa, although there is also a significant European population in the city. While many of these workers perform jobs that are not especially sought after, expats looking for work in Philadelphia and who have the necessary qualifications would do well to look for jobs in the healthcare industry or the education sector.

Expats can make use of online job portals or recruitment agencies to assist with the process of finding a job. As is the case when seeking employment elsewhere in the USA, foreign nationals require a visa to work in Philadelphia.