Why are Philadelphia companies based in the suburbs and branched in Center City?

When people think of Philadelphia as a place to work and live, they probably don’t put it in the same category as other east coast cities like New York, Atlanta, or Boston, but Philly has the potential to grow. Philly’s growth can be found in its expanding talent pool, healthcare – the current pillar industry and a developing future in technology. Philadelphia is home to numerous universities such as Temple, Drexel, Penn, Villanova and St. Joe’s – all within 30 minutes or less of Center City. These schools are building up the talent pipeline in the area for years to come that will grow into business owners, community contributors, and workers in many industries. One of those industries will most likely be healthcare. Philly is known for its top-quality hospitals and healthcare systems that people travel from all over for, both nationally and internationally. These healthcare resources not only draw people into the area, but they also strengthen the talent pool. When people mention this region’s growth it is often the achievements of our healthcare industry that are celebrated; however, the expanding technology community is also a large contributor. This is evident through city-wide initiatives such as #GrowPA and Philly Tech Week, and don’t forget the Amazon HQ2 Consideration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Incubator 1776 named Philadelphia 3rd on their list of the country’s top startup cities. When talking about universities, healthcare and technology, we can focus on how it’s more than just the anchors of Center City working toward the success of the region.

When talking about Philadelphia, rarely is it called just that, Philadelphia. Rather, Philadelphia is often referred to as The Greater Philadelphia Area. What exactly does the Greater Philadelphia Area include, and how does the generalization of this area impact our ability to attract and retain top talent?

The Greater Philadelphia Area is made up of eleven counties surrounding Philadelphia with the city at the center. This past year, 14 “Philly” based companies made it on the Fortune 500 list, but only three of those were located in Center City. The rest reside in areas such as King of Prussia, Radnor, Horsham, and even Wilmington, DE.

Talent is a major reason that many “Philadelphia-based” companies are headquartered in the suburbs outside of the city, yet maintain a relationship with Philadelphia’s Center City.  We have witnessed a growing trend in companies opening satellite offices in the city as a way to stay competitive in the Philadelphia talent market. ORS’ client, iPipeline, does just this. With their headquarters, which holds about 200 employees, located in Exton, PA , about an hour outside of the city, iPipeline opened and revamped their Center City office for about 15 employees. Their city office, located above Saxby’s headquarters, gives developers more room with a comfortable work environment. Jornaya, a data tracking platform technology company in Conshohocken, moved their office from Ambler to Conshohocken, to accommodate their growing team, and their ability to attract city talent.  The Malvern, PA-based financial company, Vanguard, added an additional office to be located in Philadelphia. They chose to satellite their office in the same building as Saxby’s headquarters and iPipeline’s office due to the building’s proximity to Center City and the 30th St. train station. Bucks County-based software development and mobile app company, The Meet Group, left their shared Center City office space at WeWork and moved to a larger location near City Hall. This office upgrade makes their Center City office another location along with their New Hope, PA headquarters, and additional offices in San Francisco and Germany.

Not only do companies based in this area see the potential of the suburbs, but so do bicoastal organizations. ShopRunner moved its HQ from California to Chicago and grew its Pennsylvania location in Conshohocken by 70% in 2017. Sypase, a health IT company located in San Francisco, has plans to double its Radnor team of 15 by 2018.

Although there are a multitude of reasons organizations choose to reside in the Greater Philadelphia Area, it is obvious that establishing a headquarters in the suburbs and having an office in Center City allows employers to attract a larger pool of talent.

Are you struggling to find talent due to your office location? Connect with us to learn more about our geographic talent identification strategy, and how we can scale together.

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