One of the main focal points of Print’18, held 2 weeks ago in Chicago, was THE NEXT GENERATION. Much energy and discussion surrounded what will happen to print when the “old guard” retires. I heard a story of one print shop having 3 CSR’s all retire in the same month, and, there was an edge of concern over cultivating and retaining young talent, as well as a long-standing issue of there being a dearth of females in our ranks.
It was a main talking point throughout the programming in The Printerverse, and you can view a panel discussion about how several influential women got their starts and built their careers here.
Under 5% of the US’s CEO’s are women, and an anecdotal review of my own Linked In feed told me that out of 120 presidents and vice presidents in the printing field (that I am connected to) only 9% of those were women. And that was just in the first 120 that came up in my search.
So, what can we as an industry do to attract, hire, train and retain new talent? There is no magic bullet. But here are a few suggestions that could make a difference.
• Offer to go and give a talk during career day to a high school in your area. Take REALLY COOL samples with you. Highlight any areas in which you are utilizing emergent technologies like Augmented reality or cool videos of high- profile installations. Offer an internship if you can.
• Check out the PSDA -Young Innovators Summit. This looks like an amazing forum for younger people to get together and share ideas.
• Encourage all your female employees to become active on Girls Who Print. GWP is getting ready to kick off some amazing new initiatives about mentorship and networking that go a long way toward creating a community of empowerment and other great leadership resources.
• Work with local colleges and universities that offer programs in print technologies and offer to host a career fair or help with job placements in any way that you can. This might involve working with other printers in your area. Some of them might even be competitors. But remember, all boats rise in the tide.
The future is not coming: It’s here. Put yourself into the best possible position to thrive with new talent in the years to come. Get proactive and make hiring and cultivating new talent, and empowering women one your primary missions. Your company depends on it.
Listen to Kelly’s Podcast From The Printerverse: Strategies for Sales Success with Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi
Check out her book, co-authored by Bill: Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How?
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to start a revolution and fight to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.