Influential Women in Manufacturing (IWIM) honors women who are effecting change in the manufacturing and industrial production space. At IWIM, we celebrate the wide-ranging, needle-moving accomplishments of women in all discrete and process manufacturing industries while sparking conversations about best practices for building the workforce that will continue to drive the manufacturing industry forward.
In this Putman Media podcast series, we focus on workforce issues impacting companies and individuals across industries through in-depth interviews with experts using new approaches to enact change in their plants, attract up-and-coming workers and overcome the skills gap.
According to the Data
When we, the IWIM founders, came together to develop the IWIM program, we were all keenly aware of the much-talked-about statistics about manufacturing's projected workforce shortage. According to a widely cited study from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, U.S. manufacturers could face a shortfall of 2.5 million workers by 2025.
By now, this isn't news. Manufacturers already are contending with waves of retirements and are working really hard to convince young people that traditional perceptions of manufacturing are just that: traditional, outdated, not at all in line with today's sleek, clean manufacturing facilities and the efficient, high-tech reality of much of today's manufacturing work.
It's also not news that women can play a key role in addressing manufacturing's serious labor crunch. While women make up 47% of the overall U.S. labor force, they represent only 29% of the manufacturing workforce.
We know that manufacturing offers high-quality jobs with incredible opportunities for advancement. These are family-sustaining and personally rewarding jobs for individuals across a wide range of educational backgrounds and professional interests.
More than 70% of women who participated in a Women in Manufacturing survey from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute last year said they believe women are underrepresented in their company's leadership team. 7 in 10 feel they don't see adequate representation of women in key decision-making roles.
Manufacturers and other industrial companies have made strides of late—Land O'Lakes in July 2018 named Beth Ford its new CEO; she became the first openly gay woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Dhiv-ya Surya-de-vara became GM's new CFO on September 1, 2018; that move makes GM one of only 2 companies in the Fortune 500 (the other is Hershey) to have women in both the CEO and CFO roles.
These prominent, publicly visible appointments are good news. But there's more to do.