As we detail in our annual report on salaries and wages in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, while much of the United States economy deals with The Great Resignation, our industry has begun to feel the effects of The Great Retirement. From last year to this, participation in our survey by the most-experienced professionals declined. There were 2.1% fewer participants with 25 to 29 years of experience in the ICT industry, and an eye-opening 5.9% fewer participants with 35 to 40 years of experience. On the flipside, we had 2.4% more participants with 0 to 4 years of experience. To some extent, the industry is recruiting a new workforce generation, but not nearly at the pace it is losing its longest-tenured pros.
All the skilled trades are facing this same hardship, and each trade is taking its own approach to bringing in young workers. We are no different, and the need is evident. But in addition to the need to bring new professionals into the ICT industry, it’s critical that we retain the wealth of knowledge that the retiring generation possesses. We collected information for our survey in late 2021. A person with 40 or more years’ experience at that time was in the industry prior to the 1982 consent decree breaking up the Bell System. Anyone in this group has served the industry for the entire time that owners/occupants have been responsible for the wiring within their buildings.
This type of encyclopedic experience is worth far more than just a few good stories about days gone by (although I’m certain those stories are priceless on their own). The popular expression that someone “has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about …” comes to mind here. But so many of the ICT industry’s wise elders have not forgotten, and we cannot let a lifetime of knowledge retire with them. That’s where I’d like to play a part. We at Cabling Installation & Maintenance would like to play a role in our industry’s most experienced professionals imparting knowledge to the many who can benefit from it, particularly including the newest generation of workers. We have some ideas in mind, and I would like to hear from any of you who see retirement on the horizon and are interested in transferring your knowledge to others. If you fit that description, please email me at [email protected], and if you would, please put “Before I Go” in the subject line. I hope to make arrangements so that you can, in whatever format you’re most comfortable with, provide lessons to other industry professionals.
If we pull this off, it will be just one of many steps that should be taken to capture and pass on the invaluable knowledge many of you have gained over decades. Kudos to the individuals and organizations already hard at work to achieve this knowledge transfer. We intend to do our part as well.