This paper from the Manufacturing Institute and Colonial Life explores what manufacturers are doing to help close the gender gap, incorporating survey responses and interviews with various company executives to identify best practices and provide insights for other manufacturers. To address the workforce shortage, manufacturers need to expand their talent pools, bringing in more diverse and underrepresented candidates. Women represent a sizable talent pool that manufacturers cannot ignore, especially as the sector becomes more advanced.
By embracing the diversity of its employee base, companies can positively shape their company’s culture, which can be attractive for identifying and retaining workers. In addition, by highlighting successful women at their companies, their female employees have become important role models for other existing and prospective workers, and these efforts go a long way toward conveying the importance of diversity and differing perspectives to the company’s overall culture and to the bottom line.
At the same time, it is also vital to address some of the challenges that hinder more women from entering the manufacturing sector. The lack of flexibility, child care support and company-supported development and networking opportunities are the top barriers women are facing, and successful manufacturers have worked to address those challenges. Child care and work-life balance are top-of-mind for many employees, both male and female, and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are increasing conversations about what the “new normal” in the workplace looks like. Meanwhile, manufacturers have explored job training and continuing education opportunities, ERGs and mentorship programs to help their retention and recruitment efforts. These initiatives also help to ensure that employees feel valued and that there are sufficient resources dedicated to their success and development.