Top manufacturers working towards bridging the gender gap

Over 75 percent of women surveyed by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, for a report, were of the opinion that a manufacturing career is interesting and rewarding. They emphasized that top reasons to stay in the industry are remuneration and opportunities to work on challenging assignments.

We are already aware of the skills gap in manufacturing. The responsibility to bridge this gap lies with all companies in this sector. To create a skilled workforce of women, just increasing efforts in STEM education for women will not work. A robust demand is required along with hiring programs with a special focus on women. We cannot build supply without first creating a robust demand.

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Women are known to be naturally sincere, responsible, and creative. Some companies are leveraging these inborn traits to give a competitive edge to their business.

Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited of India set up a manufacturing branch outside of Prune, a city in the state of Maharashtra, to take advantage of the talent pool of women professionals in that area. Their plant, which makes green air conditioners, is run by an all-women team. This is a one-of-its-kind effort by any company in India.

Employees of Alcoa numbered about 470 in 2014. Of these, 20% are women—one of the highest rates known in Alcoa smelters. Janne Sigurdsson, who runs Alcoa’s smelter in Iceland, is one of the top female executives admired globally. Alcoa Inc., the world’s third largest producer of aluminum is an American public company best known for its work with lightweight metals and advanced manufacturing techniques.

Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives ranked number 8 on Woman Engineer magazine’s “Top 50 Employers” in 2015. The selection process is done by the magazine’s readers on the basis of which companies they would most like to work for or that they believe would provide a positive working environment for women engineers.

For this kind of success to happen, women already working in the manufacturing sector need to tell their stories in order to show women the huge opportunities in the industry. This is the reason we need more women in manufacturing today. There is an urge for showcasing opportunities for women in this sector and to pave the way for more women in the future. Diversity of the workforce can ensure the continued success of the manufacturing industry.

According to Martin Hottass, Head of Skills at Siemens plc “The impact of having more female engineers at Siemens has been excellent. It makes us far more representative of the population and has changed the perception of engineering as a whole. It seems that finally we are getting the message out that engineering is an exciting career choice for women too, making it a realistic career choice for school children. Statistically, year-on-year, we are seeing more women become engineers and that can only be seen as a positive advance.” The engineering conglomerate believes that increasing the diversity at its workplace and including more women apprentices will give the company a leading edge over its competition. 

The perspective of the manufacturing sector is changing for good. With companies like Toyota, which recently announced that it will triple the number of women in managerial positions from the current 101 to 300 in 2020 (and to 500 by 2030), and Hitachi, which will have 1,000 women in managerial positions by fiscal year 2020, many amazing opportunities are opening up for women in the manufacturing sector. The future sure looks bright for women in this sector

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