Can Philadelphia retain its best college graduates?: media industry looks bleak

philadelphia-universities

During recent weeks backpacking Europe, I have had a great deal of time to think about my future – mostly on long train rides between the great cities of Western history, Vienna and Berlin, Brussels and Prague. I want very badly the opportunity to write, to tell stories in a resurgent metropolis.

Right now, I am trying my very best to make that Philadelphia – the home of my alma mater, Temple University, from which I graduated in May.

Since the world seems to be in financial meltdown, it might seem silly for me to question the sluggish hiring of me and my peers, but I can’t help but wonder if Philadelphia is on the road to better retention of graduates from its many, varied and respected colleges and universities.

Yes, I’m telling myself it’s the economy, not that folks like Sean Blanda, Neal Santos, Brian James Kirk, Alex Irwin and dozens more I know are unemployed, underemployed, or wrongly employed because Philly doesn’t yet have the companies to do them better.

That thought is troubling. I am looking for a job I want. And, for the time being, I am looking exclusively in Philadelphia. They tell me that could be a problem.

I am not just a little worried that I am tripping over writers, reporters and journalists in Philadelphia, and not just those pushed out by the Inquirer and Daily News, but those bright, young people with new media talent over whom any sensible company – newspaper or otherwise – should be salivating.

Is this Philadelphia’s problem? While it is the fourth largest media market in the country, it isn’t considered an ideal place for those communications majors in the world.

To be fair, Philly’s health care sector is considered one of the best in the country, and I can name three friends – not a Philly lover among them – who are sticking around after graduating because they got jobs in medical industries. A law student-friend and another with a legal studies-background are planning to and have started to live in Philly respectively more because of job opportunities than love for the city.

Cities compete for educated residents. The easiest way at succeeding is to retain their own graduates, so Philly should be at an advantage, with dozens of colleges and universities in town – including the city six, among the country’s top. But we’ve struggled with keeping those graduates around [Source, PDF].

The city is supposed to be making ground, but – media industry or otherwise, recession or not – I don’t like what I’m seeing.