How to increase the number of women in manufacturing in 2018

A skilled workforce is the fuel for the manufacturing industry’s engine of growth. As per a report by Deloitte, approximately 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled in the U.S. from 2015 to 2025. It further forecasts that the skills gap will leave 2 million of these jobs unfilled. And without sufficient availability of a skilled workforce, manufacturers could face inefficient production lines and competitors snatching their business, making hiring and retaining talent equally critical to company success.

In another study, Deloitte reports that women constitute one of U.S. manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. While women are excelling in many fields, what is it in the manufacturing industry holding women back or keeping them out of the industry all together? Is it conservative thinking or the misconception about the culture and kind of work in manufacturing? Whatever the reason, now is the time when women must join the manufacturing industry, as it is one of the most important industries for any economy. The larger the number of women in manufacturing, the bigger the boost to the manufacturing sector.

As questions such as “how can we increase the number of women in manufacturing over the coming year?” arise, here are some points which can surely help this cause:

Make the manufacturing industry appealing for women

Women may avoid the manufacturing industry because of the belief that the environments in manufacturing are not desirable. Companies must make work areas friendlier by ensuring that women are safe and feel able to work without any hesitation. They should be given responsibilities equal to those given to their male counterparts.

Ensure a healthy work-life balance

Every industry where women work, or want to work, should have a work-life balance.  Manufacturing companies should thus make rules wherein there are clearly defined HR policies related to work-life balance that benefit all employees. The industry can take steps toward changing the notion that the industry is not at all women-friendly.

Supply more role models for women

In manufacturing today, generally male employees are in higher-level positions. This can, at times, end up demotivating female employees. This fact can help reinforce the belief that the manufacturing industry is only for males and that women will rise only as far as junior-level positions. Hence, companies must also have their female employees in different level roles, becoming the inspiration for women just beginning their careers.

Offer policies to attract and retain top talent

Since the further inclusion of women in manufacturing is the right move, the industry should offer its employees at each level attractive policies to motivate them. Policies that are specifically appealing to working mothers or to individuals wishing to start a family, include paid paternal or maternal leave, on-site daycare or daycare subsidies, and flex time.

While manufacturing often sees vacancies for skilled labor remain unfilled, it makes sense to attempt to fill those vacancies with talented women. This shift in thinking will be welcomed by economies worldwide, and will be a win-win situation for everyone involved. So, in 2018, let’s make manufacturing an attractive industry for women!

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