More women in manufacturing could aid in closing the skills gap

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 99 views 

The Manufacturing Institute, APICS, and Deloitte have released a new study delving into the employment gap of women in manufacturing. The survey targeted more than 600 women in manufacturing and conducted nearly 20 manufacturing executive interviews to explore how effectively manufacturing companies are attracting, recruiting and retaining women, and what should be done to close the gender gap.

The women surveyed were well-educated (88% held a bachelor’s degree or above); experienced (71% had worked over 15 years); held a variety of senior positions; and were employed by large companies (52% worked in organizations with annual revenue over $1 billion). They were also evenly represented across Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Gen Y generations.

The study’s authors knew of the employment gap going in, but were able to quantify the extent of it, finding just 29% of the manufacturing sector is made up of women in spite of the fact that, as of 2016, women comprised about 47% of the overall U.S. labor force. With women earning more than half of all associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and holding more than half of all U.S. managerial and professional positions, it was concluded they represent the largest untapped resource for the sector in the years ahead — especially important since manufacturing executives report about six in 10 positions are unfilled due to a manufacturing skills gap.

To attract more women to the profession, respondents said schools could be doing a better job of encouraging young girls toward manufacturing. Just 29% of the respondents believe they are currently doing so. On a positive note, 58% of respondents believe there has been a positive change toward women in the profession over the last five years and that’s in spite of the fact 71% believe there are different standards for men and women with 87% of that number believing women are held to higher standards than their male counterparts.

One area of improvement respondents noticed is the pay gap, with 42% stating they had noticed “significant” shrinking in the last five years. That is an especially important metric to attracting Gen Y talent, who value attractive income above all other factors (52%) compared to Gen X (49%) and Boomers (48%). Gen Y women also value work life balance more than their older counterparts (49% vs. 39%).

Link here for more insights from the study.

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