Guest post by Jacob T. Jackson, Xerox Marketing Communications Associate

Jake Jackson

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). With this in mind, a large portion of the industry’s seasoned workers are beginning to consider retirement over the next few years. Sadly, many of these individuals don’t have the luxury to pass the torch on to a young, bright millennial to continue their business. This may be because the printing industry isn’t something millennials are normally interested in, or possibly the fact that many don’t know much about the industry and are quick to make assumptions. As a 23 year old who has been involved in this industry for about two years now, I’m here to help close the gap.

Assumption 1: Print Is Dead.

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. As the years went by, the stack of paper on my desk got smaller and smaller, as my smart phone 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. Whenever I hear someone make the claim that “print is dead”, this is how I respond:

  • Do you plan on sending a group text inviting all of your friends to your wedding, or sending invitations?
  • Are you going to send your son a few emojis on his birthday, or are you going to give him a wrapped gift with a personal written card attached?
  • 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?

These questions tend to spark the “oh yea!” moment, where they begin to realize that although there may be a lot of new and exciting pieces of technology coming out, there will always be a special place for print in our lives.

Assumption 2: Print Is Boring.

When I tell my friends my career is in the printing industry, many tend to jump to asking “is it like the show ‘The Office’?” We share a few laughs, and then I begin to explain that everyone in the printing industry doesn’t just pick up the phone and try to sell boxes of plain, white paper. The printing industry is much, much bigger than that. There are thousands of different things you can do with paper, through many different printing presses with many different reasons behind each print. 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. To get a taste of some of this creativity, take a look at these Best of the Best award winners who transformed their paper into fun, results-generating applications.

Assumption 3: Printing Is Not a Smart Career Choice.

With the first two assumptions in mind, many just assume that this “dead and boring” industry wouldn’t be a smart choice to begin your career – but they are very, very wrong. With many millennials having the mindset to develop and advance in their careers quickly, the printing industry is a perfect match. The aging leadership is opening massive doors of opportunities. For starters, millennials have the opportunity to learn from individuals who have years and years of experience within this industry. This knowledge ranges from stories of success, stories of failure and everything in between. It’s very important to take advantage of this information and absorb all the knowledge you can, because the other major opportunity within this industry involves career advancements. As the leaders within this industry begin to retire over the next few years, new career opportunities will be opening and new leaders will be emerged.

According to the Governance Studies at Brookings, millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020, and will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. In other words, 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.