These Numbers Prove The AV Integration Industry is in Dire Need of More Young People in 2018 and Beyond

The AV integration industry is comprised of mostly middle-aged and older males. What message does that send to the next generation? Not a sustainable one.

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These Numbers Prove The AV Integration Industry is in Dire Need of More Young People in 2018 and Beyond

Guess what, AV integration industry in 2018: You are an approximately 60-year-old man.

That might come as a surprise to some of you. Particularly to the 12 percent of individuals taking the annual Integration Business Outlook study, conducted annually by Commercial Integrator and NSCA, who checked “female.”

It’s become a pretty standard joke that, when you attend a conference in the AV integration industry, you can scan the crowd and perceive a sea of older white males. Although we didn’t ask about race in our annual survey, the results didn’t do much to quash that perception.

Over a third, 34 percent, report that they’re between 55 and 64 years of age. The next most populated group at 25 percent is 45 to 54. Only 9 percent say they’re under 34 years of age.

integration industry, AV industry

We ask these questions not to wag a finger at the industry.

Having some basic information about age and gender of the survey participants, we think, helps add valuable context as we review the data from the 188 respondents who took the 2018 edition of our survey.

We also learned that nearly a quarter, 24 percent, of survey respondents work for a firm with 100 or more employees. Meanwhile, there are still a lot of small, mom-and-pop-type companies in the AV integration industry, since 37 percent have 10 or fewer employees.

Read more 2018 predictions with CI State of the Industry 2018: The Incredible Shrinking AV Industry

The meat of the industry, although at 40 percent it’s far from an overwhelming majority based on our survey, has between 11 and 99 employees.

If there’s a takeaway from this industry demographic information, it’s that the industry needs to get younger and less masculine.

Imagine if you were a young, technology trained, enthusiastic employment prospect. Would these numbers — 88 percent male and an overwhelming majority over 50 years old — appeal to you?

The industry needs to work on its demographics.

About the Author

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Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editorial director of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication.

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Comments

  • This is a telling tail of technology based business. Our business can provide great jobs for young women and men but we do need to recruit at the high school level. Our company, one of the woman owned integration firms, have been fighting the aging technical pool for over 25 years. As an industry we have to get involved in STEM education, apprenticeships and promoting trade education. We need to show young women that system integration is rewarding and actively recruit them. Once working in the trade, through manufacturers training, association training and our opportunity to send employees to post high school graduate education for employment commitment, we can grow the talent pool with young, vibrant, system programming, IT understanding personnel. Our industry helped make being a nerd cool, now we have to work to encourage the new generations understand that the converging technologies are a sustainable career path. Youth with ability need to know about these jobs. AV integration is meaningful occupation that non-college graduates can pursue, and even get a free education. Our business touches humans from Cradle to Grave. Medical, commercial, government and entertainment; we provide solutions and ways to help our customers communicate.
    Harnessing our technology for Humans can be a great career. We just have to get it in front of youngsters looking for a path to success. It will take everyone in “power” in the industry to get this done.

  • Danny Pratt, CTS-D says:

    I am fortunate to count myself as one of the younger participants in this industry. I certainly could have gone to college. I had the test scores and the intellectual capacity for it, but it just wasn’t for me at the time. I started in the sister trade of Voice/Data and found my way into AV. I have been amazed at how much knowledge there is to gain within the industry and technology, and it constantly changes! I often wonder why there aren’t degrees in technology schools **specifically** for audiovisual careers. I am literally learning something new EVERY day, and it never feels like I have it all whipped. The up-side is I am earning as much as most of my college-going equivalents, but without the crippling student loan debt. It just took me a few years longer to get where I felt comfortable (enough).

    While I am totally grateful for the mentors I have had thus far, the stats are pretty spot on. I would love to see my contemporaries join in. There is truly no limitation for females either! They would be able to do any and all tasks required to succeed in AV, yet it is still a rare sight to see. The retirement and changing of the guard will hopefully provide openings and catch some millennial attention. A lot of money and knowledge is ripe for the taking!

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