Creating an inclusive print industry that can attract young talent and bring new perspective to sales and marketing is how the industry ensures career relevance and viability.
At a session of the recent #ElevatePrint webinar, hosted by Intergalactic ambassador to The Printerverse Deborah Corn, US-based Domtar Paper director of marketing Vanecia Carr and Nonstop Printing CEO Leiman Chan addressed the issue of bringing in younger talent to print.
“It’s a heart matter first – businesses need to figure out what their identities are and what they stand for. They need to figure out what their top priorities are, what their purposes are and work towards that vision,” Chan said.
“We have to look for a solution that is long-term and how to build a better future. If we’re serving creatives, you inherently have to be inclusive because you’re not going to get the best ideas from sticking to just your ideas. That’s how we will hit our full potential.”
Chan said younger talent should look to organisations with apprenticeship programs as a stepping stone to their careers in print, and that larger businesses need to be supportive of them.
“Businesses are always looking for a diamond in the rough but that doesn’t mean that these people are going to be the best at every single thing. So, younger talent are the ones that are going to have something unique about them, which will bring a new flavour into the company,” he said.
As for Carr, she spoke about her journey into the print world, identifying the importance of having a good mentor.
“Very early on in my career in print, I had a very strong mentor which I think was really critical. Being a young, headstrong woman, having a mentor was more beneficial for my career than people give credit for,” she said.
“At many times, my mentor used to push me into areas of work that I myself was not confident in. So, I’ve tried to inculcate in my team openness – for them to be able to express their thoughts and ideas no matter of their age, backgrounds, religion, race, or ethnicity.”
With millennials now falling under the 24 to 39 year-old bracket and running corporate businesses, Corn mentioned that by 2025, they will account for about 75 per cent of the global workforce.
“Everyone has five years to get these millennials into your corporations and companies before our generation is out of the industry,” she said.
“So, how do we tackle all the ageism, sexism, etc. that millennials are going to face in the industry?”
Chan said the greatest potential to be rid of these issues starts from the top – it’s vital to have a leader within a business that cares about eradicating these things.
“Business owners need to take the time to talk to each individual and put aside any kind of –isms. It starts just from having conversations and action plans will follow suit,” Chan mentioned.
“Millennials these days aren’t going to join businesses that don’t represent what they’re feeling.”
Carr said businesses need to enforce a collaborative and innovative culture, but also include people in their conversations.
“It’s important to have a culture where people at the top aren’t the only ones making the decisions. It should be upon every single person within the business to hold themselves to the standard,” she said.
“And business owners should take a chance on young people; mentor them, put a program together, and educate them because at some point, the people in our industry who have been around for 30 to 40 years are going to retire, causing a giant knowledge gap across the entire industry.
“You’ve got to connect those people together. The opportunity to enact change is now.”
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