“Our industry doesn’t appeal to young people.”
Since reading these words in our 34th Annual Dealer Survey last year, they’ve stuck with me. When we asked dealers to identify their biggest concerns, this was one of the responses. The same dealer who delivered this response also cited hiring and retention as one of his biggest concerns, one shared with 50% of dealer peers who responded to the Survey.
If I’m to interpret this statement, I’d say this dealer has a tough time finding young sales reps willing to sell traditional print technology—copiers, printers, MFPs—who have the desire and work ethic to turn a sales role into a career. While I don’t dispute that this is a hurdle for this dealer, I don’t believe it’s a universal issue across the office imaging industry.
I attend many dealer-oriented industry events and have seen a growing number of young people—many in sales positions. Outside sales, we know there are many more young people working in our industry in marketing, IT, service, and administrative positions. Without a doubt, some of these young people will have long careers in this industry.
As technology continues to transform the office imaging arena, this industry has a valuable opportunity to appeal to young people. Sales reps with a desire to work in a technology-driven industry are best-equipped to market, sell, and service the next new wave of technology, services, and software transforming offices and workflows, even if more of it is performed remotely post-pandemic. Yes, some of that technology will always most likely be good, old print technology. However, even that is evolving and not so boring anymore.
Here, at The Cannata Report, we take pride in showcasing young people who are working for dealers or vendors and excelling in their jobs. Each year, we feature several of this new wave of technology driven executives in our Young Influencers issue. What is inspiring to us—and should be to you as well—is that we don’t have to look far to find impressive candidates to profile. We are encouraged that many of the young people we have profiled over the years—and we’ve been doing this for seven years—are still working productively in this industry. That fact alone tells us this industry appeals to young people and is seductive and innovative enough to keep them here.
In this issue, thanks to presenting sponsor ACDI, you will find profiles of six Young Influencers who represent the future of our industry. One main thread that links each of these Young Influencers is that they are fully supported by employers who have nurtured them from their beginnings. Their employers have fostered their curiosities, acknowledged successes, and promoted them accordingly, giving them more responsibilities and more freedom to use their skills and talents to generate more success. These Young Influencers have confidence in themselves, and their employers have confidence in them.
No doubt, there are many young people out there who are poised to be an asset to our industry. I’m confident that if you look hard enough, you will find them.
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