Over the past few years, increasing lack of skilled new manufacturing workers has caused some companies and organizations to actively seek out more talent and emphasize the benefits of a more diverse workforce. Part of that effort included a greater focus on recruiting women and dispelling notions that manufacturing was strictly a tough, dirty and homogenous world. Anyone who works in a modern manufacturing facility could tell you why that simply isn’t true, yet a recent study released by the Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte, and the APICS Supply Chain Council has shown that campaigns to recruit and retain more female manufacturers have fallen short.
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“The study found women comprise slightly more than a quarter of manufacturing employees but are seldom seen in the executive ranks, even though they make up nearly half of the total U.S. labor force. Manufacturers are lagging behind partly because of ‘average’ programs to recruit women, the study found. Companies are also doing a poor job of informing women about manufacturing careers and creating a positive perception of the industry. Companies also need to step up their efforts to retain women, it said.”
The issues affecting women in the manufacturing workforce, as specified by the study, appear to reflect general employment issues relating to gender, including perceptions of long-standing double standards in the industry and pay gaps between male and female workers doing the same job. What are your thoughts on the results of this study? If you’ve sought to hire more female workers in recent years, do you feel your company has been successful? What should the manufacturing sector do to continue to dispel misconceptions about the sector?