At the past several conferences that I've been to, I struggled to find more than 5% of the attendees under 45 years old.
Last Thursday through Tuesday I attended a technology conference called South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in Austin, TX. Over 19,000 people were in attendance, and I was way outside their average demographic (over 50% of attendees were 22-35 years old). This was an amazing conference - all the speakers/attendees were brilliant, full of energy, forward thinking, and very positive. There was so much to do and a typical day was up at 6:30, session 9:30 to 6, and then hosted parties till 1-1:30 in the morning. There were web celebrities, media, startup CEOs, writers, publishers, technology enthusiasts, developers, PR firms, marketing companies, etc. in attendees. After 6 nights I was mentally and physically exhausted, but SO inspired.
It was interesting, when I discussed this topic on the SAFETY LISTSERV, I got flamed upon by the "old guard" saying it was all about experience, respect, and paying your dues. Interesting, I'm 53 but fully understand the younger generation that will be entering the workforce will be very bright, able to multi-task, and will be very comfortable with technology.
I recently conducted a survey of 25-34 year old EH&S professionals and will be presenting the results in a free webinar on March 31st. To view the details and to register please go to www.potentcompoundsafety.com.