The jobs in manufacturing are mainly held by men: according to a study by Pew Research Center, in the US women make 40% of the labour force and only 29% work in an industrial field.
There are thousands of job places that cannot be filled and it’s difficult for manufacturers to hire people for those spots. Women could play an important role in that. This gap needs to be filled, and could actually be filled by females. So how can we convince women to opt for a job position in manufacturing? There is a big number of qualified women in the workforce, so we have to understand careers in the industrial sector, are not that appealing for them.
According to a study by Deloitte, women who work in manufacturing feel underrepresented. It is certain that if manufacturers want to have more women working for them, they will certainly need to change their strategy related to recruiting, retaining, and advancing women’s jobs in manufacturing. Nowadays, 6 out of 10 positions are not filled due to a manufacturing skill gap.
WHAT DOES NEED TO CHANGE?
Diversity and profitability are directly correlated. Having teams with a lot of diversity of thought when it comes to different genders and cultures, helps on having a higher ROE. By having leadership groups which hold different visions and perspectives, there will be a wider and stronger strategic thinking, which will lead to a better performance of the teams.
One perspective which is still on the table, is that manufacturing is still regarded as a men’s world. Companies need to start analyzing and identifying the clearly existing gender gap and establish clear expectations. To women, manufacturing is still perceived as an old-fashioned place to work in. The current leaders of manufacturing enterprises need to make it clear that manufacturing is a business area in constant development and that its mindset is still evolving. One of the main problems linked to the lack of women in the manufacturing world is due to the work-life balance, especially in production/assembly line roles.
Another way of attracting women to jobs in manufacturing is to make the already existing female role models more visible than they currently are and so, convince other women to join them in the manufacturing workforce. There should be created a future roadmap that explains how a career path in manufacturing can evolve. Companies not only need to recruit and engage women, but they also need to find a way to drive women to top job positions.
Companies should concentrate on making their workplaces more attractive to make women want to join the manufacturing workforce. They need to find strategies and new ways to retain women in the industry world. Bringing together recent graduates along with more experienced people, can help them want to stay. Several key factors like benefits, schedule flexibility and culture, can make women want to pursue a career path in manufacturing.
5_KEEP AN EYE
Thinking about ways of engaging women in the stage of life when work-life stability is more difficult to achieve, is also another important point to take into account. We are not only talking about maternity leave, but also about finding ways to help these individuals to build a solid career path with good working conditions. Organizations need to understand that women and men are different and have different needs. The will of changing the mentality and the mindset of the industry, needs to come from men, they play an important role here.
“When women are among leaders in organizations, there is a wider lens of strategic thinking; groups/divisions can weather problems and issues better, and can identify innovative solutions faster.“
Executive interviewee who participated in the study
According to a survey by the Manufacturing Institute, APICS and Deloitte which included more than 600 women who work in manufacturing, having women on leading positions contribute to more diverse perspectives in decision making, more innovative and creative approaches, a more balanced organizational management and an improved financial performance.
Research made in this field demonstrates that manufacturing companies benefit from having gender diversity on their teams. By having mixed teams with a good balance of men and women, there will be a higher ability to be more innovative, to have a higher return on equity (ROE), and more profit as well. If employees believe and see that their company commits to inclusion related to gender equality, they tend to show better results in business performance related to their ability to innovate. According to the study made, organizations that have strong female leadership appear to present higher returns as well as an increase in net profitability.
The gender gap is still clear across all business sectors but it is even more pronounced in the manufacturing one. In order to shorten it (or even to make it disappear), we need to start taking action and coming up with strategies to improve the working conditions for women in order to make the workplaces in manufacturing more attractive. If we want women to integrate the industrial world, we need to make this “world” more comfortable for them to work in.