Refreshing Philadelphia’s workforce

Mark Dent’s recent Billy Penn post is one that nearly slipped off my radar:

A couple of weeks ago, Philadelphia managing director Richard Negrin reached out to several millennials in fields ranging from business to politics to tech to meet at the City’s Innovation Lab. …

Negrin’s office found that in up to five years, some 36 percent of city employees will be eligible for retirement or at least a deferred retirement plan. That’s a really big deal. It means Philadelphia will have about 9,000 positions to fill. It also means the city’s current batch of employees isn’t too reflective of the much-discussed youthful boom Philadelphia is currently experiencing. …

“Your age doesn’t necessarily matter, your talent does,” he says. “If we can get that message out, I think people would love to work for a great city during a critical time and really change our workforce.”

It’ll be fascinating to see whether any serious culture change among City of Philadelphia civil servants takes place in the years to come. Filling 9,000 positions is a momentous thing, but so is culture, and the culture of Philadelphia civil servants isn’t a robust one. The first thing I would be asking is whether every one of those 9,000 positions really need to be filled when older employees retire.

Whatever the case, those who come next will be guided as much by office precedent as leadership from the mayor’s office and his deputies. The fact that Negrin is one of those deputies, and is targeting millennials, is a good sign for the city.