David Harding talks about loss of printing industry talent

President and CEO of HardingPoorman Group in Indianapolis, David Harding is concerned about the gradual attrition of talent, experience and expertise in the printing industry. And with good reason. Click here for the video.

With the changing of the print industry to a more high tech rather than trade industry, as experienced talent leaves due to retirement or changing jobs, there are few employees ready to step into positions such as pressman, folder and/or cutter operators. Additionally, print communications companies are merging or closing their doors as the industry shifts to faster paced technologies demanding expensive new equipment and challenging new processes.

According to industry financial analysts, the printing industry across the US has lost about 3,000 establishments since 2004.

David wonders what the printing industry as a whole is doing with the loss of talent that we are seeing in our industry.  As printers, those surviving and thriving in print communications should take responsibility for developing the talents of the future.  But how?

Here are some ideas:


  • Establish employee mentor programs for future pressman, future folder operators, or future cutter operators. Even future management.

  • Set employee training goals. At the end of each year, if an employee passes a test to gain operator understanding of a new printing technology, they get a bonus.

  • Cross train employees on several printing technology systems.


The printing industry should be concerned because they are losing experienced people.  It’s inherent upon all printing company owners and managers to prove that our industry can be great and prove to businesses and people alike that we are an industry worth thinking about getting into.