Women continue to be an untapped resource in manufacturing. According to 2018 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than a third of the US workforce in this sector is made up of women. Other countries report similar imbalances.
For the cable and wire factory of the future – where skills such as communication, teamworking and analysis are becoming increasingly important – a business that is not reaping the benefits of a diverse workforce will surely fall behind.
Addressing this gender gap needs a multi-pronged approach:
- Recruitment: for many women, their employment needs to accommodate looking after school-aged children. Positions that allow for homeworking are of great appeal but are not always practical for the factory industry. Flexible or part-time working is appreciated by all, regardless of gender, and businesses offering more flexible arrangements will often find that input increases as a result.
- Progression: like their male counterparts, female employees want to know that there are opportunities for progression. That there may be a gender pay gap is, for most women, an understandable (if disappointing) product of historically male-dominated industries. More important, once this disparity is identified, is that companies take sincere and tangible action to address it.
- Recognition: initiatives such as the Manufacturing Institute’s Step Ahead acknowledges the work of women in the industry.
- Mentoring: of course, the earliest point of intervention is within the school environment. Whilst it’s the responsibility of governments to ensure that the curriculum promotes manufacturing and engineering (for both girls and boys), prominent female leaders or rising stars in this sector can make a difference through talks in schools and mentoring programmes.
To find out more about Cimteq’s own work in this area, please email Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, Cimteq, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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