There’s A Future for Young Professionals Here, Survey Finds

Why is this real estate news? Those young folks will likely either become first-time buyers or trade up as their careers advance.

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Philadelphia skyline | Photo: R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

According to the results of a survey released last week by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, a whopping 93 percent of young professionals currently living in the area said that there was a good chance their next job would be in Philadelphia as well.

And according to the figures reported in “Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders: A Survey of Emerging Mid-Career Professionals,” two-thirds of the 25- to 39-year-olds who responded to the survey were certain they would make their next step up the career ladder here.

Equally encouraging from the perspective of both the chamber and any real estate agent who might peruse this report: 97 percent of the respondents would recommend the Greater Philadelphia region as a place to live.

What might bring an even bigger smile to those agents’ faces: 42 percent of the people who responded to the survey were homeowners.

“We didn’t expect that number to be so high,” said Patricia Day, project manager of the chamber’s Education and Talent Action Team.

An additional 29 percent plan to buy a home in the next three to five years, and another 20 percent are on the bubble. Not surprisingly, the percentage of young professionals who own homes rises as they get older, but a plurality of even the youngest cohort — 40 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds — already own homes, and an another 27 percent of them plan to buy within the next five years.

All this suggests that the area’s employers offer plenty of opportunity for young professionals to grow and thrive, whether at their current place of employment or elsewhere in the region. And that in turn means a steady stream of house-hunters in the years to come.

It mattered little whether one was born and raised here or a transplant when it came to attitudes about living and working in Philly. The respondents were split 50-50 between natives and outsiders, and both groups thought highly of the region: 98 percent of the natives and 96 percent of the non-natives would recommend Greater Philadelphia as a place to live.

Regardless what they think of the place, however, the question remains: Should they stay or should they go? The survey indicates most of them have plenty of reasons to stay; the region’s three greatest strengths were safety (more important to older respondents than to younger ones), affordability, and rent and home prices. Oddly enough, two of those three — affordability and rent and home prices — were also among the factors that loomed largest in deciding whether to head elsewhere.

Given that 62 percent of those who responded lived in the city, it should not come as any surprise that schools were the third big factor that might lead them to leave. (An even higher percentage of respondents, 75 percent, worked in the city.)

Day said that as these were just initial findings, the chamber plans to run focus groups and conduct additional research to learn what specific issues were of greatest concern to the respondents and how they might influence their professional and career development.

The chamber received 1,188 responses to its online survey between September 27th of last year and January 9th. Of those, 830 fell within the 25-39 age range the chamber was interested in. A summary of the report’s findings can be found here.

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