Women make up 47% of the US workforce, but only 24% work in manufacturing. This amounts to a largely untapped resource for new talent. However misconceptions of both employers and young women may be keeping the number of females in the industry so low.
A new survey, an organization powered by the Precision Metalforming Association and dedicated to advancing the role of women in the manufacturing sector, presents an interesting picture of the perceptions of women currently working in manufacturing and young women contemplating their career paths. Here are some of the key findings:
When asked what they are looking for in their future careers the young women surveyed replied they want (1) interesting and challenging work, and (2) high earning potential
82% of women working in manufacturing believe that the work is interesting and challenging while 50% believe that the field offers good compensation, so there is alignment with the young women’s expectations
Only 7% of young women included manufacturing in the top 5 career fields they feel offer good opportunities
68% of young women are not likely to consider manufacturing as a career path
Only 5% of the women currently working in manufacturing are aware of any company programs to recruit women
Clearly this represents a significant opportunity for manufacturers seeking the next generation of CNC machine operators, programmers and managers. What can you do?
Reach out to young women in your communities to educate them about the benefits of working in manufacturing
Explain how brains are more important than brawn in this age of advanced, computer-controlled technology
Provide examples of the career paths open to capable employees and the compensation possibilities
Explore opportunities for partnering with high schools, colleges and universities who can identify women candidates and provide a platform for your recruiting messages
Of course all of this takes planning and a commitment to focus on recruiting women which, as manufacturers struggle to find and hold onto good talent, may just give you another leg up on the competition.