This quote does not mean that for Wittgenstein academic philosophers were doing better than scientists. It is important to notice that Wittgenstein had a deeply pessimistic attitude towards the 20th century western culture, von Wrigh (one of his closest students) wrote that this "deepened to a hatred of our decaying civilization and a wish for its destruction". In 1939 von Wright asked him "Do you really think that Europe needs another war?" and Wittgenstein replied "Not one but two or three."
In the preface of Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein writes about his ideas:
"I make them public with doubtful feelings. It is not impossible that
it should fall to the lot of this work, in its poverty and in the
darkness of this time, to bring light into one brain or another - but,
of course, it is not likely."
Why was he so pessimistic is a good question. One should notice that he was not alone, similar attitudes towards the post enlightenment culture had been expressed by others like Nietzsche and Spengler. But unlike they Wittgenstein didn't explicitly write much about his attitudes, his philosophically important work is at least on the surface about "theoretical" issues in philosophy (though explicitly anti-theoretical), and not about practical issues in political philosophy or ethics.
There is probably no single explanation. Partly his attitudes derive from his personality, he had in some sense strict standards of morality and passion for intellectual integrity. This can be seen in the way he lived. In his writing he tried to debunk the half-truths and sloppy thinking he found in philosophy, and he didn't publish his writings even though doing so would have increased his fame during his lifetime.
Is it hard to see how a person with a temperament like that might see our culture as degraded in many obvious ways, even the intellectual culture?
It's also probably true that like Tolstoi, whose writings Wittgenstein admired, he had a nostalgia for a simpler more authentic way of life, perhaps a religious way of life (though he was not a religious person).
Von Wright says that Wittgenstein saw the idea of progress as a trap. It's not right to say that he was against science, but as von Wright writes he was critical to the influence of science outside its proper domain. And as we know this is a trademark of our culture. If you are familiar with his philosophy, you know how this is related to the substance of his philosophical thinking. The result of this influence of science in philosophy, for example, is from a Wittgensteinian point of view often a conceptual muddle. What is disguised as progress by quasi-technical language, is actually obscure metaphysics.
This is how I interpret that quote, as a rejection of the idea of progress separate from ethical goals or clarity.
"It is all one to me whether the typical western scientist understands
or appreciates my work since in any case he does not understand the
spirit in which I write. [...] Our civilization is characterized by
the word progress. [...] Typically it constructs. Its activity is to
construct a more and more complicated structure. And even clarity is
only a means to this end & not an end in itself" (Culture and Value
(The von Wright paper I quoted was "Wittgenstein and the Twentieth Century" in Wittgenstein: Mind and Language (Synthese Library), by chance the whole article in the Kindle edition can be read on Amazon.)