First there was Justin Trudeau’s “Sunny Ways” message – and the Liberals won a majority! Then there was Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” message – and the Republicans won the White House. So I have a third game-changing message for the printing industry: get ready for an influx of highly qualified, highly motivated women (yes, women) into an industry traditionally dominated by men. It’s not that us guys are doing so badly, but it does herald a gradual shift that I believe is coming. Let me explain.
I had the pleasure to attend Ryerson University’s GCM Awards Night last month in Toronto. This annual event is a testament to the hard work of students and staff, generous donors and printing industry leaders who’ve partnered to support Ryerson’s School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) and its four-year, degree-granting program. As I counted the more than 100 award winners, I discovered, to my surprise, that about 80% were female! So, I’m predicting a personnel shift over the next several years that will see more women entering the workforce in various roles. Here’s why: Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) will comprise half of the North American workforce by 2020, and 75% of the global workforce by 2025, according to a Harvard University study. And guess what? They’re more knowledgeable and tech-savvy than baby boomers like myself. It’ll be exciting to see them become the new employees, apprentices and eventual leaders in our industry – especially the women.
At the event, one of the highlights for me personally was telling an engaging young GCM student that I too, am a Ryerson grad. When I mentioned that my graduating year was 1969 (Journalism), he smiled and politely said, “wow.” Funny thing – his eyes seemed to say “shouldn’t you be dead by now?” I told him that my course in the late 1960s was a 3-year program that yielded a diploma. He proudly declared that his is a 4-year program that yields a degree. I replied politely, “That’s ok. I know it takes four years for you young fellas to learn what we learned in three.” We both laughed.
There’s always something magical that happens when I talk to today’s young people. I absolutely love to hear their ideas. It gives me hope – and reminds me that, like our evolving industry, our ideas and methods must also evolve.
Have a wonderful and relaxing Christmas!
Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help you.