In 2008, economic factors drove many Millennials away from the printing industry in order to cope with the recession and high student debt. However, as this generation ages up in the job market, they bring unique skills and a fresh perspective to Artisan careers.
Both graphic design and printing press operation are industries in which the median age is over 40 while the design industry itself is also in an overall decline. Attracting Millennials into the printing industry will mean showing that the industry is capable of focusing on technology and making valuable contributions to future markets.
What Can Millennial Employees Bring to the Printing Industry?
“Millennial” is almost synonymous with “technology,” which is why it’s no surprise that the Tech industry is saturated with Millennial workers. More and more frequently, Millennials are leaving jobs in retail and media for tech, finance, and healthcare industries. They are bringing skills like social media marketing, programming, and computer designs with them.
From programming to marketing, these younger workers bring expert technology skills to the workplace. For professional printing firms, these skills can strengthen efficiency and digital presence in fresh, innovative ways.
For example, Millennials’ focus on personal communication pairs well with the marketing side of using print to get a message out.
What Do Millennials Want?
Millennials tend to focus on two critical factors when considering work.
First, Millennials have faced historically significant economic crises at turning points in their educational and professional journeys. Many were just graduating college during the 2008 market crash, leading to long term underemployment. Thus, industry stability is paramount and the printing industry must show that it does have resilient markets—some like direct mail that are more successful than their digital counterparts—to attract wary Millennial workers.
Second, Millennials tend to look for work that has meaning and/or will allow them to seek meaning in their life outside of work. Professional printing can be full of meaning, from the messages it prints to the personalized designs customers order. Leveraging these purposeful uses for printing make the industry more attractive to meaning-driven younger workers.
Bringing Younger Workers into Artisan Careers
Showing that Artisan careers and professional printing can capitalize on the skills Millennials are more likely to possess, such as data-driven marketing, is one way to make these positions more attractive. Offering opportunities outside of the digital world, such as direct mail executed by the printing industry, can also interest younger workers who may have been taught to think digitally first.
It’s important that these positions be fulfilling personally and intellectually, providing room to grow.
As many printing professionals age toward retirement, positions will open up for younger workers to join the industry. Keep in mind that most Millennials are now in or approaching their 30s and thus generally past career points of joining a company as an intern or entry level employee, so targeting them should focus on mid-level career opportunities with excellent benefits.
It’s also never too early to target Generation Y. Starting early with connections to school programs and internship offerings is an excellent way to attract the next generation of printing industry workers.
Attracting younger workers, particularly Millennials, to Artisan careers in printing jobs requires us to prove we have a future in both tech and meaningful messages. Millennials can bring much-needed tech skills and social media prowess to the steadily aging professional printing industry and will be essential in keeping it going.