Driven by the ever-evolving complexity in buyer behavior, technological advancements, and competitive pressures, the manufacturing industry is undergoing a massive change. Manufacturing is no longer simply about making physical products. A strong manufacturing industry needs skilled workers to grow, innovate, and be globally competitive. However, the gender gap in the manufacturing industry is still wide. How can bridging this gap help the current situation?
By 2025, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be required to be filled by skilled workforce, and as per the skills gap report by The Manufacturing Institute (in partnership with Deloitte), this skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs remaining unfilled.
Part of this gap is because of the under representation of women in the industry and then because of the general perception that careers in manufacturing are undesirable, and that all those jobs are labor intensive, requiring extensive education needs. All of these problems result from a lack of understanding that present-day manufacturing environments are highly technical and offer stable career options with a bright future.
One of the obvious ways to fill the skills gap is by recruiting and retaining more women. In addition to bridging the skills gap, hiring and advancing women is smart business. As consumers and influencers, their experiences and insights could contribute significantly to the industry’s competitiveness.
Another reason for hiring more women in manufacturing today is that women will attract more women to manufacturing. They will encourage women and expose them to the huge opportunities in this sector. This in turn is important in ensuring continued success of the manufacturing industry.
Additionally, research shows leadership diversity can be a key contributor to innovation. With that in mind, recruiting and retaining women in manufacturing can contribute significantly to a company’s competitiveness. Having a diverse workforce, comprised of a balanced number of men and women, will ensure you have different mindsets focusing on problem solving. A healthy work-life balance and a pro-diversity work climate correlates with lower turnover intentions among employees, which in turn leads to a lot of cost benefits. Having more women on board is associated with employees’ positive perception of a company’s ‘diverse climate’. For the greatest impact, manufacturers should create and measure strategies and programs to improve diversity and inclusion of women accordingly. Hence, women are critical to addressing the skills gap in manufacturing.
What role do women play in your organization? We’d love to hear inspiring stories of the women who had a significant impact in your organization. Leave a comment below to share!