Manufacturing has been looming on the edge of an ominous skills gap for some time. Despite a lot of conversation, we still haven’t solved it. At the same time, we are taking steps in the right direction. The Manufacturing Institute launched its STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Ahead initiative. As part of the program, the group has recognized women each year for excellence in manufacturing for the past five years. This year, 18 of these 130 leaders were leading the charge on the high-technology manufacturing front.
Currently, about 47% percent of the total labor force is female in 2016, compared to only 29% of workers in manufacturing, a Women in Manufacturing report found. The survey, which polled over 600 women in manufacturing, was conducted jointly by Deloitte, the Manufacturing Institute, and APICs. “Given that women are underrepresented in manufacturing, and the argument to increase the industry’s fair share of female talent is persuasive, one thing is certain: Manufacturing companies likely need a different approach to recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in the workplace,” the report said.
Given that reality, pointing to success stories is critically important. Raising these women up as mentors and examples may encourage organizations to proactively close the gender gap in manufacturing. “These women are making huge strides in this industry and are demonstrating what modern manufacturing careers are all about–rewarding and fulfilling careers with limitless opportunity for growth,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers said in a written statement. “This year’s STEP Ahead class brings together inspiring leaders to help us promote diverse workforces and recruit the next generation of manufacturing leaders to develop the future of this industry,” he added.
The STEP Ahead Awards identified women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership. The honorees represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the executive level. The list includes supply chain managers, engineers, marketing managers, chief technology officers, vice presidents, scientists, and more. Click on the image below to start a slideshow of the honorees (in alphabetical order) who represent the high-technology manufacturing sector.
What is your company doing to close the manufacturing talent gap? Let us know what’s worked in the comments section below.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN