The lack of youth in our industry continues to be a concern of mine. Let me explain a perfect example that demonstrated perfectly the disparity in age groups that we have right now.
Whilst attending the Triple Glazing Question the other week in Coventry, I took a minute to observe who was actually there. I looked for familiar faces, as well as some new ones, trying to establish a rough guide as to who was here and which part of the industry they came from. Once we were all guided into the main room, I stood up and took a good long look at who was already in the room and who was still filtering through the doors. I was hoping to see few faces around my age. However, I would say that the average age of most people attending that event was at least 20 years older than myself, if not a little more.
Not that that was the fault of the attendees, not at all. But the fact that I appeared to be the youngest there, at 25 years old was a frightening assumption. Yes it could be argued that an event such a TGQ should have only been attended by the biggest companies with the wisest heads. However I would argue that with such an important subject to the industry such as triple glazing, it would have been imperative to have some proper youth in there, to give them good experience on how industry wide issues are debated, and to get them thinking about solutions to such important issues. But this was not so, and this highlighted the size of the problem at hand.
I have attended a few events now. I don’t like to do too many, as they’re not really my thing. Neither are the schmoozing, boozy events often held afterwards. But at each and every one, I often feel the youngest in the room. If companies do have younger members of staff, they’re doing a very good job at hiding them. I often wonder where the younger skills are going to come from to replace the older generation our industry has, so they can fill that gap. Right now, I just don’t think we’re doing enough as an industry to attract the younger generation. Yes apprentices are becoming a bit more popular. But a few dozen here, a handful there, isn’t going to plug a gap far bigger than that, which covers all areas of our industry.
So, I’d like to ask you all just two questions, so that I can try and get a better idea as to whether you all agree, or if this is something I am just making up. You see that little pop up that you all probable crossed off when you first landed here? Well that was a path to take you to the little survey page I set up. But never mind, you can still get to that by clicking this link: http://glazingblogger.polldaddy.com/s/youth-in-fenestration
Although your answers are your own, from what I have seen myself and anecdotal information from many who I have spoken to, the lack of plentiful youth is a problem that is only going to get worse, unless something can be done to change that now.
I agree with a lot of what you say, but I think there is some room for encouragement. Listers actively employ apprentices across the entire business wherever we can. Generally (but not always) these are young and enthusiastic people. We currently have around 25 people in the business who started with us as apprentices. Some now hold key positions and continue to be developed for future roles. Listers has a wide mix of young, experienced and old employees like me. :-) and this mix is another reason for our success. The young people bring in new ideas and the more… Read more »
To be fair I personally increased the average age by 5 years.
The biggest factor will be that when it comes to a jolly, most of the owner/bosses will go along themselves, rather than send some young eager learner who could benefit. They’re usually not going to send them to a overnight jolly with a booze-smooze, hotel and train fare costs when they have a day off on the expenses themselves. These sort of events aren’t really a true image of the trade, because these sort of events like to target the “decision-makers”. They’re nearly as important as “stake-holders” you know…
“I believe that children are the future , teach them well and let them lead the way”
I welcome innovation, after all it’s how we continue to improve on the products we offer the customer in terms of choice, specification, energy efficiency, etc. Your comment about “The industry isn’t like it was a couple of decades ago, where choices were limited and the job of selling was a lot simpler” – although I’m sure you didn’t intend it to sound that way, does seem to read like innovation means the salesman has to work for his living nowadays. Please don’t think I’m having a dig, I’m not, I just feel we should embrace advancement, not feel threatened… Read more »