Philly IT sector thriving, says new report


Information technology companies’ sales in Greater Philadelphia generate $34.8 billion, which is about 8.3 percent of the region’s gross domestic product.

There are more than 6,000 IT companies alone in the region, and they employ nearly 90,000 people, according to a new report from the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies on tech investment and impact.

PACT conducted the research for the report – which shows a thriving IT sector in Philly – in collaboration with Comcast, Select Greater Philadelphia, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the CEO Council for Growth, Ernst & Young, Fairmount Partners and the Economy League.

IT jobs are also among the best paid in the region, with average annual salaries ranging from $54,000 to $110,000.

The report pegs the growth of these firms at 4.4 percent, which is slightly greater than Greater Philadelphia’s overall GDP growth.

Their growth has been helped along by $190 million of early stage investment in Philadelphia IT firms, especially the $141 million devoted to software applications. From 2013-2014, investment in Philadelphia software applications doubled.

The investment also led to a burgeoning IT export business, with IT exports growing from $4.8 billion in 2007 and $5.8 billion by the end of 2014. IT exports represent 17 percent of total regional exports.

“Money travels,” PACT president and CEO Dean Miller said. “For good deals across the world, money travels. I think we’re on the front end of some really good success.”

Miller added that Philadelphia’s strong IT sector is thanks to the abundance local graduates with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) degrees.

With schools like Drexel, Temple, Penn and Villanova churning out graduates in the region, PACT’s report found that nearly half of those graduate are likely to have STEAM degrees.

“We see a larger and larger portion of our graduates staying here,” Miller said. “The local universities receive a billion dollars in research and a significant amount goes toward tech.”

PACT will highlight the rest of its findings in its report next week at its annual IMPACT Capital Conference at the Ritz Carlton and Crystal Tea Room. IMPACT expects to draw more than 1,000 participants who engage in networking and observe panels of the region’s most prominent investors and entrepreneurs.

Ben Franklin ed. note – A preview of findings from the report was shared at the Impact conference. The full report will be published later this month.