Women in the Manufacturing Industry

Women have proven to be great for the manufacturing industry. They bring a unique perspective and unique skills, experiences, and thinking. Manufacturing companies see a benefit when adding women to the shop floor and the executive suite.

Women currently represent 30% of the manufacturing workforce and 25% of manufacturing leaders.

Women in Leadership

Surveys indicate adding more women to a company’s executive team provides a more diverse set of opinions and helps the company’s bottom line.

Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute asked executives what benefits they saw from having women on their leadership teams. As a result, here’s what they found:

  • 88% said women brought “diverse perspectives in decision making”
  • 84% said women provided “innovative and creative approaches and solutions”
  • Also, 74% said women “balanced organizational management”.

Gender diversity, especially in leadership, makes good business sense. Executives know that the innovation and varied viewpoints women with solid business experience bring to leadership can help drive profit and return on equity.

Women in the Workforce

Women with manufacturing experience bring similar benefits to a company’s manufacturing workforce. Statistics show women in manufacturing jobs tend to be slightly more educated than their male coworkers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 28.1% of women in manufacturing had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 26.5% of male workers.

As reported in the Harvard Business Review, an examination of Census Bureau data revealed when the number of women in the workforce of a given city increases, productivity numbers and wages also increased. The numbers show that for every 10% increase in women workers, there was a 5% increase in pay – for both women and men.

Attracting More Women to the Manufacturing Industry

Female workers represent a massive pool of untapped talent for the manufacturing industry. There are currently 600,000 unfilled or underfilled jobs in the manufacturing industry. Compounding that issue is that 2.7 million Baby Boomers are set to retire by 2025, leaving 2 million unfilled manufacturing positions.

But the real challenge is in attracting more women to the manufacturing industry, and at all levels.

Ways to attract more women in the workplace:

  • Develop mentorship programs for promising women employees
  • Make current women leaders more visible to workers and the community
  • Minimize or remove gender pay gaps – pay women the same as their male counterparts
  • Offer more flexible work hours
  • Provide other benefits of importance to working women – such as healthcare, daycare, etc.
  • Promote a healthy work-life balance – for all employees

Gender diversity ultimately makes any company a better company. When manufacturing companies take a proactive approach, they will attract more women workers and leaders and can create a better, more profitable workplace.

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