Know Your Demographic

April 1, 2011
Mirroring the industry, 70 percent of our readers are over the age of 50. With thousands of the baby-boomer generation retiring over the next five to 10 years, it's critical we let younger generations know about the benefits of a career in transit.

At a recent show someone was flipping through last year’s issue of our Top 40 Under 40 and asked when we were going to have a top 50 over 50. Since we first started doing the Top 40 a couple years ago, it’s a joke we hear often. What I didn’t realize is that he wasn’t joking. He said to look around; we’re not going to find too many people under 40 and added that we should know our demographic. This will be the third year we’ve done the Top 40 and for the past two years it was the top viewed article on our website and something that people often bring up when we’re out at conferences and trade shows. When you spend months focused and working on something each year, it’s easy to forget that when other people first see it, they don’t necessarily know why we do it. The industry faces a severe shortage of skilled and seasoned employees as thousands of workers from the baby-boom generation approach retirement over the next five to 10 years. From our annual readers’ survey, we saw that an employee shortage was a major concern for many of our readers. Aside from adding more frequent features focusing on the topic, we decided to start the Top 40 Under 40 to highlight the new generation that is in transit; to show their accomplishments and what it is they enjoy about their role in the industry. It’s always exciting to see the amount of press coverage after the issue mails when the individuals are recognized by their local media. We hope that any additional coverage of a young professional in transit raises the awareness of public transportation as a career option for the younger generations planning their future. The nominations are open now for this year’s Top 40 Under 40, which will again be announced in our September/October issue. It’s easy to nominate yourself or a colleague simply by going here and sharing a brief description or bullet points on things such as achievements in his or her position; industry involvement and contributions; or innovations in his or her position. Especially exciting this year is that it’s an Expo year, so we’ll also be distributing the issue at the American Public Transportation Association’s Expo and Annual Meeting in New Orleans. And of course we do know our demographics. We know that nearly 70 percent of our readers over the age of 50. We know it mirrors the industry so we see first hand how critical it is that we all work at getting the word out that public transportation is a rewarding career utilizing the latest technology all while helping our environment and reducing our oil dependence.