Efficient Plant April 2021 - 4

column | editorial

Time to Focus
On Hiring
Women
Gary L. Parr
Editorial Director

Including women as a
significant part of the
manufacturing workforce
results in improved innovation, higher return on equity,
and increased profitability.

4

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM	

EP2104editorial.indd 4

O

NE OF THE fallouts of the
pandemic is the large number
of women who left or were
forced out of the workforce. While
many left because the service industries
were effectively shut down and those
jobs disappeared, a notable number
disappeared primarily because a
parent had to be home with children
who couldn't attend in-person school.
The current situation is a significant
setback for all women on a personal/
financial/career level. In the manufacturing world, where only one of three
jobs is held by a woman, it's also significant, particularly when coupled with
the ongoing skills gap.
As the pandemic shows signs of
subsiding, we must look ahead to when
families return to a more normal life and
women want to re-enter the workforce.
Pandemic aside, the issues that factor into
whether women look to manufacturing for jobs and/or continue to work in
industry are not new. They are, however,
well delineated in a recent study conducted by the American Association of University Women, Washington. The study,
Factory Flaw: The Attrition and Retention
of Women in Manufacturing (aauw.org/
resources/research/factory-flaw/), lists
five primary factors:
	 Of the 4.4-million manufacturing
jobs eliminated between 2000 and 2020,
31% involved women and 23% involved
men.
	 In 2019, Black women earned 78%
of what white women earned, down 5%
from 2003, and Hispanics earned 66%, a
4% decrease.
	 Sexual harassment is widespread
with 68% of women of color and 63% of
white women experiencing some form of
harassment.

	 Family leave policies are a factor for
69% of all women.
Remedies suggested by the AAUW
are obvious: Reverse the negative factors.
They also suggest that manufacturers up
the training and re-skilling ante by creating apprenticeship programs for college
students and offering tuition reimbursement for employees.
This post-pandemic juncture, when
employers have made significant
adjustments to working practices and
are more open to change and adaptability
than ever before, presents a prime time
to address these issues head on and make
manufacturing a more receptive place
for the significant workforce represented
by women.
It's worth noting that we're talking
about more than simply hiring females
to fill empty positions. According to
research firm Deloitte, New York
(deloitte.com), " Gender diversity benefits
a manufacturing organization through
improved ability to innovate, higher
return on equity, and increased profitability. When employees believe that their
organization is committed to inclusion,
they report better business performance
in terms of their ability to innovate.
Organizations can also unleash the full
potential of their female workforces by
creating a culture where unique strengths
thrive. "
AAUW CEO Kim Churches summarizes: " Our findings are a call to action for
employers to increase the presence-and
power-of women in the manufacturing
world. Not only will women and their
families gain from having access to these
well-paying jobs, but industry will benefit
richly from the skills and talents that
greater diversity can bring. " EP
gparr@efficientplantmag.com

APRIL 2021

3/30/21 3:59 PM


http://www.deloitte.com http://www.aauw.org/resources/research/factory-flaw/ http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Efficient Plant April 2021

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