Three demographic “megatrends” are playing out that will dictate the future of the marketing function. The third of these appears to be in sorry shape, and needs imminent attention from marketers.
First up is the fairly well-known Baby Boom labor bust (in marketing, a 50-year-old is considered ancient). Vacancies that were masked by the Great Recession will start to rear their ugly heads over the next 12 months.
The second trend is the apparent backfill of the Boomer loss by the 30-something crowd. I say apparent, because by and large this group – made up of too many know-nothing, unemployed freelance social media guru bloggers – ranges from useless to dangerous. [Quick aside: Ad Age’s critic Bob Garfield, in his final Ad Age column, called them “narcissists, conmen, naifs and a number of blithering morons.” I commented that this was his best criticism ever, which netted me top-rating of 4 thumbs up.]
On the face of it, you wouldn’t worry about the second trend, because the third – the trillion teenagers in the U.S. – will knock the 30-somethings on their butts. Except maybe they won’t.
“The American Freshman,” an annual survey administered by the Higher Education Research Institute that I’ve referenced in earlier posts, released its 2009 findings recently. It could be bad news for the future of marketing.
Due mainly to the recession, the percentage of students who said they held a job during high school fell from 69% to 63%. We can only hope there are summer jobs this coming season for them. It’s not only the experience they lack, but money to keep them in college. Unpaid internships are in reality a loss-loss.
The percentage of students who said a college’s job placement success was "very important" hit its highest level ever. The driver for this can be seen from another question also hitting an historic high: “Top goal for college graduation is being well-off financially.”
It’s hard to think about in current times I know, but we’re right around Defcon 3 in terms of future resourcing of marketing. Start thinking about the colleges you should be aligning with (those with high job placement stats!), mentoring programs, and paid internship opportunities. Sponsor scholarships and campus events. Get a manager or two to teach as an adjunct.
Don’t wait. That’s what everyone else will be doing.