Last week The MHEDA Journal conducted a survey of 870 people in the material handling industry on LinkedIn. The survey was to determine the average age of LinkedIn users in the material handling industry. 195 people responded (22.4 percent) to the survey and the results are fascinating.
There were 162 male respondents (83 percent) and 33 female respondents (17 percent) with an average age of 45.27 years old. How did users in the material handling industry compare to LinkedIn users as a whole? According to a Pew Research Center study called “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives,” the average age of adults using LinkedIn is 40 years old and 63 percent of those LinkedIn users are men.
The results of the poll indicate that the average material handling user on LinkedIn is older than a typical LinkedIn user, and that there are disproportionately more men using the service than women. While the survey was successful in determining the age and sex of a large number of respondents, it probably is not enough to draw conclusions about the industry’s presence on social media platforms. For example, one respondent said, “I am 65 but I am an infrequent social media user at best.” This brings up an interesting debate. Should there be a distinction between a person who has a LinkedIn account but lets it lie dormant vs. an active user who updates their content daily? According to the Pew Research study, only 6 percent of LinkedIn accounts update their profile at least once per day. There is also no distinction between people who use their LinkedIn accounts for business purposes vs. those who have “personal” LinkedIn accounts.
Another thing that the survey fails to consider is the average age of workers in the material handling industry, compared to the general workforce. While the respondents to the poll are, on average, older than the average LinkedIn user, the poll fails to account for the fact that workers in the industry as a whole may be older than what data shows as the statistically “average” American worker.
Finally, while LinkedIn is widely considered the most “professional” social network, it is comparatively small compared to Facebook. According to the Pew results, 92 percent of social networking users are using Facebook, as compared to only 18 percent on LinkedIn. So, it would be unwise to draw a conclusion about the material handling industry’s presence on social media sites based solely on the demographics of LinkedIn users.
The Pew Research study indicates that the number of adults using social networking sites has doubled since 2008. It is probably fair to say that professionals in the material handling industry are better represented on these sites now than they ever have been before.
What do you think about the results of this survey? What percentage of your company uses social networking sites? How can these sites be used for business?
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