When writing part two of this series I initially looked at employment data for 20 – 35-year-olds. As I began to research the topic in greater depth, I began to realize that I wanted to understand how people in this age range are spending their time. Investigating this issue might provide us with the insight and understanding needed to help drive future strategic programming, events, and collection development decisions.
I am still looking for patterns in behavior and activities, but this time I am also using the tool of personas. The goal of persona is to create an archetype and to gain a greater understanding of our patrons and the challenges they face. The persona allows as an organization to gain clarity about the patrons we serve. A simple hypothetical example might be that 80% of 20 to35-year-old adults are employed and work between the hours of 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Knowing this fact might be helpful as we think about scheduling. The hypothetical example above does not use real facts.
One data point that might help us understand how people spend their time is employment level.
Unemployment rates for males and females over 20 years old is reasonably low, and it appears that females remain employed at a higher rate than males during times of recession.
Looking at Johnson County we see that the unemployment rates are lower than the national averages.
We can also see that unemployment rates vary depending on educational level. The higher the education the lower the unemployment numbers. The unemployment percentage increases dramatically for those adults in the community that have less than a high school diploma.
Johnson County Community College gives some helpful data on educational attainment levels in the community.
The educational attainment of Johnson County’s population ranks among the most highly educated in the nation, making the local labor pool one of the best in the United States. Ninety-five percent of Johnson County residents age 25 years and older have earned at least a high school diploma, 52% have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the national average of 28%.
There are currently 29 four-year colleges and universities and 11 two-year colleges offering classes in the area. The county has 6 public school districts (K-12) totaling close to 92,000 students during the 2010-2011 school year. Collectively they have 43 nationally-recognized Blue Ribbon schools”.
The persona is taking shape – this person is most probably married, has a high school degree or greater and is employed in some fashion. We know that this is true for both genders in general.
Here is another piece of information. We can see that the percentage of women fully employed lowers as the number of children increases in the family as compared to males.
What are the days and times that most people work? If we knew this information, we might conclude that these times are not the most ideal for finding an adult audience. The data indicates that most people work on a weekday.
It appears that males still provide the largest portion of the income and that most families are dual income. This puts a demand on time. For females with kids under 5 years of age, the weekday or weekend mornings might be the perfect time to offer a program. For the males in the family, it looks like the weekend is the ideal time to offer some sort of family programming.