We already know that the rapidly evolving manufacturing industry is in critical need of a pipeline of skilled workers, so what better way for manufacturers to invest in their company, community, industry and economy as a whole than to support an expanded and diverse talent pipeline, which includes attracting girls and women?
We know women in manufacturing make a measurable difference. Recent McKinsey research shows us that having a diverse workforce really does enhance their competitive advantage. Of the 366 public companies analyzed, those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. Furthermore, they attract a higher quality talent pool and better serve customers because of the heightened innovation that diverse teams deliver.
So how do we build a pipeline of female leaders? Below are five ways companies can help advance women in manufacturing.
- Mentor an early career professional. Pay it forward by mentoring a peer or colleague. You’ve been there, done that—share the challenges you’ve overcome, the experiences you’ve had and the advice you would give to your younger self to help others advance in their careers.
- Create an affinity group. Female role models need to be seen and heard in all levels of the workplace, and affinity groups are the perfect platform for their voices. When early career women have the opportunity to engage meaningfully with their more senior colleagues, it allows all women to learn and grow across generations.
- Engage with the National Girls Collaborative Project. The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) is a nonprofit initiative to help connect individuals to programs that support girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The NGCP operates on a local basis and will provide a directory of girl-serving STEM programs in your area.
- Partner with the Boys & Girls Club. The Boys & Girls Club of America is an effective grassroots way to reach girls and boys and introduce them early to the possibility of a career in modern manufacturing.
- Visit your local schools. Teachers everywhere welcome the opportunity to have employers speak to their classes. Classroom visits are fantastic opportunities for manufacturers to bring the industry to the student and vividly bring manufacturing careers alive.
If we want to see a solid pipeline of future female talent in manufacturing, we need to tap into today’s female manufacturing leaders. They have the power to inspire a young girl to excel in STEM. They are the ones who lend a credible example of hard work and success. And it is those women who can spark the imagination of girls as they begin to think about the potential careers that manufacturing offers.