Jake Jackson is not your typical print industry professional. At just 23 years of age, he’s worked in the industry for two years now and sees a growing problem in the profession.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median age in the print industry as of 2017 sits at 47.3 years old (about double my current age),” Jackson writes in Xerox’ Digital Printing blog. “With this in mind, a large portion of the industry’s seasoned workers are beginning to consider retirement over the next few years.”
Jackson notes that, sadly, these seasoned print industry workers aren’t “passing the torch” to people like him. He feels that may be because the industry makes certain assumptions about millennials, and how they feel about print in general. And he believes that these assumptions are dead wrong.
“Spending a majority of my life thus far sitting behind a desk in a school setting, there is something I noticed that I’m sure many others my age have noticed, too,” Jackson explains. “As the years went by, the stack of paper on my desk got smaller and smaller, as my smartphone and laptop got smarter and smarter. People of all ages (not just millennials) are assuming that print is dead due to all of the new highly advanced technological innovations popping up around us.”
He has ready answers for anyone who broaches the “print is dead” mantra, asking if they plan on sending a group text to invite friends to their wedding, or maybe send their son a few emojis on his birthday instead of a personal card.
“At the end of the school year would you rather have an online database of your classmates, or fun, personal notes from your friends scribbled throughout your printed yearbook?” he asks.
Jackson admits he’s gotten some guff from people when he says he works in the printing industry.
“Is it like the show ‘The Office’?,” they’ll quip. That’s his cue to riff on all the thousands of things you can do with paper, and not on digital.
“The printing industry is far from boring – it’s full of energy, enthusiasm, competitiveness and the willingness to be as creative as possible to differentiate yourself from those around you,” he explains.
He’s clearly tuned into the value of print to his generation, and he sees the value of the industry as career choice too. As leaders in the industry begin to retire over the next few years, “new career opportunities will be opening and new leaders will emerge.”
Jackson has some words of advice for the industry, saying “it’s time to educate this generation about printing, as they are the future of not only your business but the industry as a whole.”
“Print is not dead. Print is not boring. And the printing industry is full of great career potential. The more we share how strong this industry truly is, the stronger it will become.”
This young man is right; it’s up to all of us currently in the industry to encourage this kind of insight and devotion to our craft. Jake, if you’re reading this, well said. You’re going places in this industry.