Report: Philly’s city government workforce starting to look like the people it serves

By Alec Larson

PHILADELPHIA — The Office of the City Controller released its annual report Tuesday reviewing the diversity of Philadelphia’s exempt workforce in 2021, which shows that new hires have become consistent with the demographics of the city for the first time since the report’s inception.

In creating its data points, the review calculated departmental diversity for the over 4,700 exempt employees that make up the city’s workforce, taking into consideration new hires and hires that made salaries of $90,000 or greater. In creating a picture of the interdepartmental representation, Census data was used to compare departmental diversity to the city’s demographic breakdown.

“For the first time in the four years since the Controller’s Office has been conducting this diversity review, new hires are consistent with citywide demographics. This progress is significant and a positive step in the right direction toward a workforce that mirrors Philadelphia’s population,” said acting City Controller Christy Brady. “While the city’s exempt workforce is not yet representative of Philadelphia’s population, there has been [progress] over the last few years.”

The city of Philadelphia’s population is 67 percent diverse, with the breakdown showing that 38.6 percent is Black or African American, 15.9 percent Hispanic, 7.5 percent Asian and 5 percent other.

In comparison, 47.3 percent of the city’s overall exempt workforce in 2021 are diverse.

However, there was a 1.5 percent increase in the overall diverse population of the city’s exempt workforce when compared to the 45.8% figure in 2020, which falls in line with the trend that has seen the city increase its diverse representation incrementally each fiscal year since the review started.

Strides in diversity were made in representation of new hires according to the review, which saw 63.3 percent of all new hires in 2021 being diverse, which is an increase of 9.6 percent when compared to 2020’s 53.7 percent figure.

This improvement in diversity brought the city’s workforce much closer to being in line with the city’s 67 percent diversity figure .

Another area that saw an improvement in diversity was in the city’s executive new hires, a category that includes positions with salaries totaling at least $90,000. Diverse representation in the executive new hires leapt from 47.4 percent in 2020 to 58.7 percent in 2021, bringing the group’s overall diversity much closer to the level of the citywide population.

Overall, the size of the city’s exempt workforce decreased in 2021 compared to 2020, with 181 fewer new hires and 109 fewer overall exempt employees. The review attributes this decline to “hiring freezes and increased attrition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Alec Larson is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

Originally published at,by Special to the Capital-Star

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