Commentary: Dilemma of Attracting Young People to the Printing Industry, Creating Gender Diversity (

There’s been a lot of discussion of late, and rightly so, about how the printing industry can attract more young people among our ranks. And, part of that same discussion has been how we can build a stronger representation of women and minorities in the graphic arts. It’s no secret that the printing industry has remained a male-, and frankly white male, dominated industry. Fortunately, the good ol’ boys network that once persisted has subsided, yet there are few women serving in executive boardrooms or in senior leadership roles within our most prominent printing companies, supplier organizations and industry trade associations.

John Berthelsen, VP of development for the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), recently wrote an article about how to get students interested in the printing industry. Published in our “Today on Printing Impressions” daily e-newsletter (subscribe for free by clicking here), Berthelsen referenced a 2018 industry survey that ranked today’s top business challenges: 1) finding skilled sales personnel (65%); 2) finding skilled production employees (42%); and 3) recruiting and retaining employees (38%).

Recruitment: Who Will Follow in Your Footsteps?
He noted, rightfully so, that the printing industry as a whole has done a poor job of promoting itself. “In the eyes of most high school guidance counselors, and the typical parent, ‘printing’ is thought of as a dirty, non-essential and old-school industry,” Berthelsen wrote.

Nationwide, graphics programs are being, or already have been, dropped by school administrators at both the high school and post-secondary levels. And few printers make an effort to support their local or regional educational programs, or to do any industry promotion, he lamented.
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