Women make up about 57 percent of the labor force, but only about 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce. The 2015 Women in Manufacturing Study asked over 600 women professionals across the manufacturing industry what motivates them to remain in their current fields and what causes them to consider leaving.
You may be surprised by just how little the answers will surprise you.
• Attractive pay
This one should be a no-brainer, but with women still finding themselves making less than their male counterparts for equivalent work, it’s a huge factor for deciding how attractive manufacturing can be to women.
• Work-life balance
Women who responded to the survey indicated that they’re interested in jobs that offer them a good balance between their work lives and their personal commitments.
• Good working relationships
Friction among co-workers is never a good thing, much less sexual harassment and derogatory comments. Unfortunately, these are still issues that plague women today. According to the survey, poor work relationships are one of the biggest reasons why women consider changing careers.
• Opportunities for challenging and interesting assignments
Women no longer have to put up with the kind of discrimination so unflinchingly displayed in Mad Men, the critically acclaimed TV drama set in the 1960s and early 1970s. Unfortunately, enduring negative workplace stereotypes mean that women are often assigned “easier” or “safer” work that is beneath their skill level. Needless to say, women who want to weld and never get to see a workpiece aren’t likely to stay in welding for long
• Opportunities for promotion
When a woman begins her career, she’s looking for just that: a career. Women are frequently passed over in the workplace in favor of similarly qualified men, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why women end up changing careers. The dearth of women in manufacturing only reduces their opportunities for advancement.
If you’re noticing a pattern, that’s good. The things women want from the workforce really aren’t all that different from men. Although specific priorities vary, fair pay, opportunities for growth, and satisfying work environments are things that both men and women can appreciate. The secret, then, to overcoming the lack of women in manufacturing is to stop treating them differently. Instead, focus on actively appealing to women to seek careers in manufacturing and welding.
If you’re interested in welding, or want to expand your welding career, we invite you to visit AWS Learning, where you can find virtual conferences, online courses, and other digital tools to help you expand your welding career.