Are you in the best position to drive print’s bright future?

By Erwin Busselot, Business Innovations & Solutions Director, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe, London, June 24 2022 -The printing industry is suffering from a lack of skilled employees.

The European Commission has reported the industry as being impacted by a workforce with low mobility, partly due to its specialised and non-transferable skills. At the same time opportunities arising from technological developments are changing the industry’s skill requirements. This makes the long term replacement of its ageing workforce and traditional skills necessary.

But just how can an attractive work environment that ensures the industry is on the radar of prospective employees be created?

That is something Intergraf, the European graphics arts industry trade association, has been exploring. Its Print Your Future report looked at ways to attract a new skilled workforce.

It identified the following as highly desired:

  • Strong company values and culture;
  • a business that is focused on making an impact for the benefit of both the society and the environment – e.g. greater attention to sustainability;
  • the chance to always learn new things and acquire new competences. This is also linked to proactive career planning and development;
  • coaching and mentoring for personal growth;
  • work life balance and wellbeing: this also includes more flexible working time, home office childcare subsidy and parental leave for fathers; and also more attention to health;
  • a modern, flexible, and friendly working environment with an ‘open door’ policy; and a
  • competitive salary and pension plan.

Our 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, conducted by multinational professional services business Ernst & Young Global Limited, known as EY, made similar discoveries with both employers and employees recognising that making provisions for hybrid and flexible work is a necessity.

However, not all employers have created and communicated a formal and clear policy and guidelines. Nearly half (43%) of respondents also said they’re likely to leave their employer in the next year with total pay cited as their main concern.

The report highlighted greater optimism about what is happening now and next in terms of changes to productivity and culture among employers who had shown a proactive approach to the changing world of work.

There are several ways this evolution can be supported:

1 Intelligent technology

The industry is moving away from highly complicated system setups toward intuitive push button operation. The wider adoption of ‘plug and play’ technology reduces the need for highly skilled, expert team members that leaves the Print Service Provider (PSP) vulnerable when anyone moves jobs, is sick, or goes on holiday. Easy to use smart touch screen operating panels aid faster training and help reduce expensive errors. They also enable a younger, digitally astute, workforce to feel at ease.

2 Commitment to sustainability

Print is a highly sustainable sector that uses renewable and recyclable raw materials such as paper and board. European forests are sustainably managed and paper recycling in Europe is world leading. The industry champions reuse wherever possible to decrease the demand for raw materials. In fact this month is “Global SDGs Action Month” for Ricoh and we are encouraging employees to contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by taking part in environmental and social activities. We have also received a number of awards recognising our sustainable practices from Ecovadis, CDP,  S&P  and Dow Jones.

3 Hybrid working

The Ernst & Young 2022 Work Reimagined Survey found 80% of employees want to work remotely at least two days a week. They are striving to find a comfortable work life balance. In our portfolio of software solutions, we have RICOH Supervisor. It tracks operational trends that impact production, including device performance, throughput, consumables usage and operator productivity. Most relevantly, its intuitive and customisable dashboards are viewable anywhere there is internet access. Highly flexible working is also a key consideration for your enterprise clients and with Hybrid Mail you can enable the creation of printed or digital ad hoc correspondence on demand from any location for them.

4 Education

As we have seen from the Print Your Future report a key step is educating the employees of tomorrow, and even their parents, as to the opportunities the industry presents. This could take the form of apprenticeships or Continual Professional Development (CPD). The latter helps employees refresh and develop their skills boosting their confidence. It also improves productivity and staff retention. Investment in formal training makes employees feel valued while offering these opportunities as well as signposting career progression may encourage a skilled person to move into printing.

Ricoh is happy to explore these ways and more with you. Talk to us to help identify how you can ensure you are in the best position to drive your brighter future.



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