The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Shares Recommendations Based on 18-Month Research Initiative

With Greater Philadelphia boasting top-tier education institutions, excellent quality of life, a thriving job market, and the fastest-growing millennial population in the nation, the talent here is more abundant than ever. But, as expectations in the modern workplace continue to evolve, employers need to take steps to engage with this regional talent—through current or prospective mid-career professionals—and take action to retain them.

Over the past 18 months, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber)’s Education & Talent Action Team (ETAT) conducted a data-gathering initiative to inform best practices in order to engage and retain young professionals. This quantitative and qualitative research included a survey of over 1,200 young professionals across the Greater Philadelphia region followed by i­n-depth focus groups and ­interviews.

“With our rapidly evolving economy, it is important for Philadelphia businesses to retain young talent,” said Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber. “The work that our Education & Talent Action Team is doing in the Greater Philadelphia region, through the leadership of Co-Chairs Dan Fitzpatrick and Deanna Byrne, is helping businesses strengthen our region’s future workforce.”

The result has been the creation of a narrative report, “10 Ways to Retain Young Talent.” On Wednesday, February 21, the Chamber released the narrative during the event “The Next Generation of Talent: Building a More Competitive Greater Philadelphia.” Themes that emerged throughout the work were company culture, connections and opportunities to grow, and the top employment attributes that young professionals seek in current and future workplaces were:

  • Access to Leaders
  • Career Pathways
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Creative Benefits
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership Development
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Location
  • Mentorship
  • Peer-to-Peer Relationships

Retaining talented young professionals, defined here as between the ages 25 to 39, is essential to the continued economic stability, innovation and growth of the region. The narrative’s goal is to help employers and employees engage in conversations to understand what drives young professionals; the better we understand what drives our young professionals, the better positioned we will be to retain the talent needed for Greater Philadelphia to compete globally.

“At PwC, young professionals are vital to the success of our business,” said Deanna Byrne, Managing Partner at PwC’s Philadelphia office and ETAT co-chair. “As incredible talent floods into the market from the more than 100 colleges and universities in the Greater Philadelphia region, businesses leaders need to think about how to hire and retain the best employees.  They can really only do that if they take the time to understand what their employees want from their career and personal life.”

Keynote speaker at the event, Robbie Goldberg, Talent Brand Consultant of Global Accounts at LinkedIn, discussed how businesses can attract young professionals with an employee value proposition. A panel of experts, including Alison DiFlorio, Managing Partner of Human Capital Consulting Division of Exude, Greg Karanastasis, Vice President of Talent and Readiness for Technology at Comcast, Jennifer Fernandez, Hiring Manager at IntegriChain, and moderated by Carol de Fries, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Innovation at the Community College of Philadelphia, shared strategies and best practices on how to retain talent.

“At LinkedIn, I work with companies who want to hire the best talent, not just the best active candidates,” said Goldberg. “By developing talent engagement strategies with my clients, I’ve seen firsthand how crucial attracting and retaining top talent is for a company’s success.”

Both the event and narrative are designed to ignite provocative conversations about company culture, employee development, and engagement. It also highlights initiatives that can be feasibly replicated by any organization, ultimately aiding in the success of the Greater Philadelphia region’s economic growth and resilience.

The full report is available at