According to a report from the National Women’s Law Center, more than half a million new jobs have been created in the manufacturing sector since the financial crisis, and yet the total number of women employed in the industry has fallen to its lowest level since 1971. Only 27 percent of all those working in the sector are women. Thus, it appears as if women and manufacturing don’t mix.
Many commentators claim that this has to do with the perceptions of women themselves. The sector is seen as dirty and conservative: not the environment many women want to work in. But is this still true anymore?
There’s a growing case that the manufacturing industry has had an about turn in attitude and in the way it works. In the past, senior managers may have prevented women from taking more senior positions in their companies. But with the change in working practices over the last twenty years, that really isn’t the case anymore. What’s more, today’s manufacturing jobs aren’t the backbreaking labor many women imagine. They could even be classified as fun.
The following are some of the reasons why more women starting businesses in manufacturing is inevitable.
Old Notions That A Certain Type Of Person Works In Manufacturing No Longer Apply
Everybody is guilty of stereotyping. And so far, the stereotype of somebody working in manufacturing is a poorly educated male who doesn’t mind getting machine grease all over his overalls. This stereotype has prevented many women from entering the manufacturing workforce and earning wages in the sector – wages which are often higher than equivalently skilled work in service-based industries. High wages in the manufacturing sector is one of those economic realities which is unlikely to change. Thus, if women want to earn higher wages in general, then they need to move into the sector, start their own businesses and begin making their own products.
There Are Many Opportunities In The Sector
For many women, manufacturing is totally off the radar. Thus, fewer people are looking for and taking advantage of, opportunities as they present themselves. You have the chance to become anything, from a fender washer manufacturer to a company that 3D prints biological tissue. The idea that factories are still Dickensian remains in the popular culture, but today, plants are cleaner than offices – they have to be to keep the product free from contamination.
Pay for women is high too. Women in senior positions in manufacturing firms can often earn more than six-figures.
The Evidence Suggests That It Is Rewarding
We all want to do rewarding work, but many of us are skeptical that work in the manufacturing sector could ever be as exciting and engaging as other sectors. A survey of women business owners in manufacturing by professional services company Deloitte suggested, however, that more than three-quarters of them enjoy their work and consider it “interesting.” What’s more, women in the survey pointed to how good the pay way compared to more traditional female careers.
In conclusion, there are many incentives in place, from higher wages to better conditions, which should incentivize women to sign up. If they do, they’ll find many business opportunities ready for the taking.