WASHINGTON, -  Today, The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte and APICS Supply Chain Council released the “Minding the manufacturing gender gap: How manufacturers can get their fair share of talented women.” The joint study represents both the collective perspective of 600 women in manufacturing, as well as the voice of manufacturing leaders, and calls upon manufacturers to tap into the full power and potential of women to improve the United States’ manufacturing sector’s ability to compete worldwide.

This study confirms the importance of increasing the amount of women in the manufacturing workforce and that manufacturers are missing a critical talent pool, which could aid in closing the skills gap. Some key highlights from the study include:

  • More than two-thirds of women indicate they would stay in manufacturing if they were to start their career today;
  • 65 percent of survey respondents indicate their company does not have an active recruitment program to attract potential female employees; and
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents believe women are underrepresented within organizations’ leadership teams.
  • Many women respondents believe that standards of performance are not equal for men and women, with 77 percent responding the standards are higher for women. 

Despite the challenges uncovered in this study, it is clear women in manufacturing have a positive outlook. Efforts are paying off in progress. Slightly more than half of respondents (51 percent) indicate they have observed positive change in manufacturing’s attitude toward female professional employees over the last five years. Furthermore, two-thirds of women responding to the women in manufacturing survey said they would fully endorse (24 percent) or endorse with caveats (42 percent) a career in manufacturing for their daughters or family members.

Women constitute manufacturing’s largest pool of untapped talent in the United States. They comprise just over one-fourth (27 percent) of manufacturing employees even though women make up nearly half (47 percent) of the total U.S. labor force.  Women are underrepresented in nearly every manufacturing sector in the U.S. They are seldom seen, relatively speaking, in top-level boxes on organizational charts, lagging behind the proportion of women in leadership at other types of companies. To help tackle this pressing issue, The Manufacturing Institute promotes the role of women in manufacturing through mentoring, recognition, research, and leadership with the STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead initiative.

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