Manufacturing companies need to take a more proactive approach to attract women into senior positions.
This is despite a report published just last year which revealed women now account for 23% of all board seats in FTSE 100 manufacturers - up from 21% the previous year. But is simply increasing this figure enough? The imbalance in the manufacturing sector between the number of women in executive and non-executive positions is considered a symptom of a wider challenge.How women see manufacturingOutdated and often inaccurate perceptions of manufacturing have impacted negatively on women’s desire to seek out a career in manufacturing. If you ask a woman who doesn’t work in manufacturing, you are likely to get a response that includes visions of factories, assembly lines and men in uniforms.
In fact, the majority of women that work in this industry find it creative, stimulating and diverse. There are a wide variety of positions at high-level, high-earning levels in areas such as technology, energy, automotive, telecommunications and retail.
Some good news for women in manufacturing
The good news is that changes manufacturers need to attract and retain female talent are not so difficult to implement.
Manufacturing has always been a male-dominated industry, and there’s great opportunities in the industry women are missing out on.
We need people to come in at all levels and we need to appear more women-friendly. The concept is that we appear more women-friendly because half of the workforce are women. If it takes us to create a diverse, energetic workforce like this to set the standard, then so be it.
If other manufacturers actively start recruiting more women and shift their internal cultures, the outdated notion that manufacturing is a ‘man’s job’ could be replaced with equal opportunities for both genders.
By Kate Hulley, Managing Director of Boxed Up
*The Fresh Business Thinking team would like to point out that it searched for a royalty-free image of women in manufacturing roles but was greeted with very few options, which perhaps emphasises the arguments behind this article.