The 29% - Rise of Women in Manufacturing

The popular perception is that the manufacturing industry is exactly that – manufacturing. Historically ‘a man’s world’, the industry now reports that the growth rate of female engineers entering the workforce is 3 times that of men.

Lauren Percy · 01 Jul 2019

The popular perception is that the manufacturing industry is exactly that – manufacturing. Historically ‘a man’s world’, the industry now reports that the growth rate of female engineers entering the workforce is 3 times that of men.

Women make up 47% of the US labor force, and 29% of manufacturing employees. This percentage is the highest it’s been in the last decade – and coupled with ongoing technological evolution driving a fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s expected that this percentage will continue to grow.

In this blog and the infographic below, we examine the careers of women currently in the industry and how we can continue the momentum of the rise of women in manufacturing.

What inspires women to pursue engineering?

  • Inspirational teachers
  • Interest in problem-solving and fixing things
  • Desire to help solve global challenges
  • Impressed by industry events
  • Family and friends in the industry
  • Variety of career options and pathways
  • Opportunity to make an impact
  • Breaking the mold of what’s expected of women
  • Good salary and career prospects
  • Invitation to study at reputable universities - and 1 in 7 women at university pursue engineering degrees

What do they choose to study?

  1. Mechanical Engineering
  2. Chemical Engineering
  3. Civil Engineering
  4. Biomedical Engineering
  5. Computer Science
  6. Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering
  7. Electrical Engineering
  8. Computer Engineering
  9. Environmental Engineering
  10. Materials Engineering

 

On the job

The US manufacturing industry supports 17.6 million jobs and is the 9th largest contributing factor to the economy. For every dollar spent in manufacturing, approximately $1.37 is added to the US economy.

Workers in the manufacturing industry are paid 12% more than the national average – so for the career-focused and ambitious women in engineering, being a part of such a strong industry is a no-brainer.

So what do the women on-the-job actually say about their work?

  • 80% of women say they love their work.
  • 98% find their work very satisfying
  • 76% of women consider themselves ‘very ambitious’ and 70% are eager for promotion

Among the reasons for such a high level of satisfaction are; opportunities to make a difference, being involved in the delivery of successful projects, the prospect of a new challenge, an opportunity to travel, and their company’s investment in their professional development.

 

What about the next generation of engineers?

Diversity recruitment initiatives, events, and programs to help mentor women in engineering show that the manufacturing industry wants to encourage women to join and remain in the industry – and people are starting to take notice.

Women in Semiconductors event attendance tripled to 150 this year from 50 the first year and positivity about the next generation joining the industry has increased immensely over the last 4 years.

Growing from 12% to 29%, women believe that schools actively encourage female students to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry.

The number of women who are now ready to encourage the female members of their family to join the manufacturing industry has almost doubled in the last four years.

Out of these women, 58% say they have observed positive changes in the industry’s attitude toward women over the last 5 years.

 

How can we continue the momentum?

Women surveyed by Atkins and Deloitte were asked their thoughts on how best to manage the perceptions of the manufacturing industry and make it more appealing to younger women entering the workforce.

The primary suggestions were related to increasing awareness about a career in engineering and what options are available to job seekers.

Additionally, women in engineering feel it’s important to dispel some of the common myths about working in the industry.

1. Dispel myths and close the gap

  • 75% believe engineering is still regarded as being ‘a male career’.
  • 43% Think engineers are required to possess a lot of physical strength
  • 55% Believe potential students are put off by thinking that engineering is ‘too difficult’
  • 87% Believe standards of performance are higher for women
  • 87% Say they don’t face obstacles as a result of being a woman
  • 98% Say it’s a rewarding career for women
  • 80% Are happy with their career choice
  • 42% Believe the pay gap between men and women has been shrinking over the last 5 years

2. Increase awareness

  • 86% Believe a greater understanding of what an engineer does on the job would help improve industry perceptions
  • 77% Think an increased awareness of the wide range and variety of engineering careers is needed.
  • 56% Want to see more women speakers in schools.

3. Teach, inform, inspire

These findings show that engineering isn’t seen as a viable career option for many young women due to a lack of information and understanding.

Where there isn’t an inspirational family member, teacher, or role model, girls aren’t aware of what the women who are in engineering already know is a rewarding, fulfilling and balanced career.

Are you ready to be a part of the 29% and inspire the next generation of women in manufacturing? Join the Retronix Semiconductor team and become a role model for future engineers. Join the team >

 

Check out the infographic below! To see it in its full size, just click to open the PDF version.


Teach, inform, and inspire!

The popular perception is that the manufacturing industry is exactly that – manufacturing. Historically ‘a man’s world’, the industry now reports that the growth rate of female engineers entering the workforce is 3 times that of men.
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