An Untapped Resource: Women in Manufacturing
The talent challenges that U.S. manufacturers are facing are long from over and are projected to continue to worsen in upcoming years, Women may be that untapped resource employers are looking for to change course and move production forward in the right direction.
In some instances the pressure to fill vacant positions with a lack of qualified applicants leads to the hiring of ill-equipped workers, and potentially hazardous injuries or fatal accidents. While women make up half of the U.S. workforce, less than a quarter of manufacturing jobs are held by women, trying to attract qualified women into these open positions may go a long way in helping to fill them with knowledgeable workers.
One of the issues many manufacturers are having is actually attracting female applicants. The industry image is currently that of a male dominated environment. Recent survey data from the Manufacturing Institute reports that women in manufacturing are much less likely to recommend manufacturing careers to their children—particularly daughters. Through changing perceptions, breaking stereotypes and educating young workers about all of the opportunities in the manufacturing field what emerges may be a deeper more qualified applicant pool, and a better, safer working environment for everyone.
It’s a war for talent,” John Faraci, CEO of International Paper and advocate for hiring more women into manufacturing roles said in a recent interview.“If we can only compete for half the people that are on the planet, how are we going to get the best? You want to compete for everybody.”
If companies are looking to improve their workforce the answer may be right in front of their faces. Recruiting top candidates across the board is good for business, but only being able to reach half of the population puts the manufacturing industry at a great disadvantage. Bringing more visibility to the industry and the women achieving milestones and building successful careers like those honored at the recent STEP awards on March 26th is an example of a great way to start the conversation and inspire the next generation or even this generation of female leaders. The first step is being aware, what is the environment in your workplace like?