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Gender diversity is good for business

When Putman Media launched the Influential Women in Manufacturing recognition program last year, we editors were all keenly aware of much-talked-about statistics about the U.S. manufacturing industry’s projected workforce shortage. According to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute’s 2018 Manufacturing Skills Gap study, U.S. manufacturers could face a shortfall of 2.4 million workers by 2028.Gender diversity is good for business

It’s not news that manufacturers are contending with waves of retirements and are struggling to convince young people that traditional perceptions of manufacturing are just that: traditional, outdated, and not at all in line with today’s sleek, clean manufacturing facilities and the efficient, high-tech reality of much of today’s manufacturing work.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 labor crunch. While women made up 47% of the overall U.S. labor force in 2016, they represented only 29% of the manufacturing workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And working toward greater representation of women at all levels of an organization isn’t just about leading by example (though that’s certainly valuable), and it’s not just about good optics. It can absolutely benefit the bottom line.

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Christine LaFave Grace is managing editor of Plant Services.