May 14, 2024 - Business

Philadelphia is an emerging hub for managers

Illustration of a desk nameplate with the word JAWN embossed on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More bosses in the Philadelphia region are managing employees who live far away compared to other big cities, per a new report from ADP Research Institute.

Why it matters: While remote work makes it easier for teams to spread across the country, Philadelphia is emerging as a hub for top brass.

The big picture: The share of workers who report to managers who live in another metro area has skyrocketed in the U.S. since the pandemic began.

  • Workers are now about 36% more likely to work for managers in another metro than they were before the pandemic, per a Washington Post analysis.

State of play: The Philly metro area ranked fourth among emerging managerial hubs in 2023, per the report.

  • The San Jose-San Francisco area got the top spot, followed by the Boston metro and Minneapolis-St. Paul regions.
  • Philly beat out Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City.

Between the lines: The cities with the fastest rise in the concentration of managers over the past three years tended to be more expensive as they had higher housing prices, per the WP.

  • They also have more workplace headquarters, elite universities, research facilities, and clients disproportionately located there, according to the report.
  • Meanwhile, rank-and-file workers have sought lower-cost cities.

The intrigue: Philly — the poorest big city in the country — has a relatively affordable cost of living, and ranks in the bottom half of America's most-educated cities.

The fine print: The report focuses on firms with at least 1,000 workers and on direct reports of managers with 10 or fewer employees, per the Washington Post.

What we're watching: The report found Philly's leadership ratio — the percentage of managers in the metro area overseeing outside workers — fell nearly 13% from January 2020 to the beginning of 2023.

What they're saying: The pandemic and rise in remote work supercharged long-term trends dividing America's workforce into increasingly management-heavy cities, ADP Research Institute fellow Issi Romem said in a report analysis.

  • Rank-and-file workers meanwhile are located elsewhere.
  • "The increasing ease with which workers can collaborate from distant places has shifted low-paying work to more affordable places and concentrated value-intensive jobs in expensive ones," Romem said.
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