Author: Dave Weinstock
Millennials, people born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are now the largest generation in the United States. Not to worry, this article isn’t about bashing the “entitled” generation or listing out generational inequalities and comparisons. With that said, our economy, workforce, and industry will undergo several changes in the years to come. As an industry, we need to do a better job at explaining the benefits of our industry and attracting more millennials to join us in redefining parking as we know it.
Parking is evolving and so is the technology we use to successfully operate and differentiate our companies. Millennials were the first generation to grow up in the internet age, making them technologically advanced and creative. On-demand ride services, mobile parking apps and on-demand valet parking are only a few of the latest innovations within the transportation industry. As our industry evolves, creative ideas and technologies will separate the playing field of successful operators. Every city, every location, every client all have different complexities and demands. Often requiring a mix of traditional and modern day concepts to solve. One aspect I love about parking is the ability to try new things to redefine parking management using technology. With technology advancing rapidly, so does the opportunity to make a name for yourself by leaving your personalized mark.
A recent survey conducted by PWC, reported Millennials chose opportunities for career progression as the top factor when deciding if an employer was attractive. Beating out factors such as flexible working hours, compensation, and development programs. Our industry offers several careers paths whether in business development, operations or human resources at an accelerated rate in comparison to industries outside of parking. Let’s face it, not a lot of people are running to bang on our doors to inquire about parking careers. Those who do, typically are looking at it as a job to cover the bills instead of a career with endless opportunities. Because of this and the required mastery of several skillsets, parking offers accelerated career development. As the ever increasing demand for top talent continues, millennials are poised to be the winning recipients of today’s war on talent within parking.
The days of companies offering pensions or associates staying with companies for their entire career are long gone; and that’s okay. One of the many reasons parking is attractive is the ability to learn several transferrable skillsets. When I was 18, I didn’t know what I wanted to be or where I would eventually end up. Parking allows Millennials to dabble in different career concentrations while staying with same employer and industry. Parking sets up its leaders for success because it requires its operators to master the following segments: management, human resources, B2B, revenue management, conflict resolution and my favorite, customer service. While exploring all facets of parking, a millennial can figure out their passion and decide to focus on their favored segment of parking. This is similar to what the Fortune 500 development programs preach and sell at career fairs; yes sell.
In addition, parking rarely has educational barriers of entry. Some of the best leaders within our company do not have college degrees and we’re okay with that. Rapid advancement knows no limits within parking and if you chose to depart the parking industry, you leave after gaining a breadth of knowledge.
My goal is to inspire millennials to give parking a chance and knock on the door of opportunity. Of course, this is only a snippet into the diverse world of parking and transportation, but let this start a conversation to inspire a new generation of parking leaders and innovators.