Women make up under 25% of the manufacturing industry’s labour force, so it’s no surprise when we advertise a new manufacturing role we receive very few applications from women.
But are so few women keen to enter the industry?
We work with some excellent manufacturing companies. Companies with a global presence, rapidly expanding companies and companies that provide our candidates, regardless of gender with fantastic opportunities. So why do so few females apply for these vacancies? A few ideas emerged:
- the environments are often seen as dirty
- it’s seen as a male-dominated environment
- it’s seen as an inflexible environment
So what can we do to change this?
Dispell the myths. It’s not always dirty. Many of our manufacturing roles are in very clean, highly professional, welcoming environments. In fact, this is essential to their success. It’s inflexible. Manufacturers are starting to acknowledge that flexibility will also play a key factor in attracting and retaining women into roles. Shift patterns and early starts can cause issues attracting and retaining female employees who have other commitments outwith work.
Some manufacturing companies are embracing flexibility by, for example, creating additional shifts such as evening only weekend shifts to accommodate those with other commitments. Other large scale manufacturers are supporting fathers leaving early to get back for children. Not only is this a good way to help level the playing field for women at work, but also promotes men’s rights as a father being equally important to those of a mother.
Lastly, we can encourage girls to have an interest in STEM careers from a young age. A report in Make UK stated that 35% of girls choose maths, physics, computing or a technical vocational qualification at aged 16, compared to 94% of boys. Only 9% of young women go on to do a degree or level 4 qualification in maths, physics, computer science or engineering, compared to 29% of young men. Hopefully changing the way our young people think about these roles will start to address the gender inequality currently seen.
Allstaff is passionate and knowledgeable about this thriving sector. We have spent many years working with some of Scotland’s leading manufacturers, creating strong partnerships. If you would like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact our manufacturing division or visit our job page to see what jobs we are currently working on.