Philadelphia Is the Nation’s 3rd Best City for Women in Tech

Compared to tech hubs like the Bay Area, the Philadelphia region is, evidently, a much better place for women in the industry. A new study looked at the wage gap, among other factors, to make the determination.

View of Philadelphia from the South Street Bridge at dawn. Alejandro Sanchez Fuentes | Getty Images

Philadelphia is the country’s third best city for women working in tech, according to a new study by the fintech firm SmartAsset. The city falls behind only Washington D.C. (No. 1) and Baltimore (No. 2) on the list.

The fifth annual report analyzed four factors to determine the ranking: the gender pay gap, women’s income after housing, women as a percent of the tech workforce and the percent change in tech jobs. Philadelphia ranked high across most of these metrics.

According to the study, Philadelphia has one of the smallest wage gaps of all of the cities on the list. At the national level, women in STEM earn only 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn. In Philadelphia, however, women make 97 percent of what men earn, up from 94 percent last year. Only three other cities — Houston, Long Beach, and Indianapolis — beat Philly’s score.

As for representation in the local tech workforce, women fill 30.2 percent of the Philly tech jobs. While that may sound like a small percentage, it’s larger than the national average, which is 25.7 percent.

Yet, Philly’s SmartAsset’s record shows that fewer women over time are filling Philly’s tech jobs.

In 2018, women represented 31.7 percent of the tech workforce. In 2017, women filled 32.3 percent of the local tech workforce. For comparison, the cities with the highest representation of women are Detroit (44.2 percent) and D.C. (38.9 percent).

Though Philly ranks well in most categories, its weakness is the “income after housing costs” category. After factoring in housing costs, Philly women in tech have just $52,895 remaining. Out of the 58 cities ranked, Philly ranks 24th in this category. The national average stands at $55,341, while women in D.C. have $58,486 remaining. In Baltimore, women have $58,383 in income after housing costs.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia’s status as a hub for women in tech is only rising. In 2017, the same SmartAsset study ranked Philadelphia the nation’s 10th best city for women in tech. Last year, Philly jumped in the ranking to No. 4.

While D.C. has held the top spot for five consecutive years, researchers also noted that cities outside of the Bay Area are better for women in tech, according to the factors they analyzed.

“The nation’s most famous area for tech, the Bay Area, is a fairly mediocre spot for women in tech,” the report stated. “The California cities San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland all rank 28th or worse.”

SmartAsset analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data on women and men in tech occupations in cities with at least 200,000 people. The report then assigned weights to each metric to determine the best cities for women. You can view the complete study and methodology here.

Natalie Crane is an intern at Philadelphia magazine.