Women in Manufacturing

In 2016, women comprised 49% of the US labor force but only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. With more than 500,000 jobs in manufacturing underfilled, the sector should aim to diversify. Many companies are understaffed because of the lack of qualified applicants, which strains operations and staff. Companies can begin to support and mentor women who are interested in joining the industry to help fill these open positions.

Benefits of working in manufacturing:

  • In 2017, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $84,832 annually, including pay and benefits compared to the $66,847 of an average worker in all nonfarm industries. Looking specifically at wages, the average manufacturing worker earned more than $27 per hour, according to the latest figures which does not include benefits. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Manufacturers have one of the highest percentages of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by their employer. 92% of manufacturing employees were eligible for health insurance benefits in 2015. Of those who are eligible, 84 percent participate in their employer’s plans, i.e., the take-up rate. There are only two other sectors that have higher take-up rates – government (91%) and trade, communications and utilities (85%). (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • Manufacturers have become leaner due to tremendous growth over the past couple decades, helping the sector become more competitive globally. Output per hour for all workers in the manufacturing sector has increased by more than 2.5 times since 1987. In contrast, productivity is roughly 1.7 times greater for all nonfarm businesses. Note that durable goods manufacturers have seen even greater growth, almost tripling its labor productivity over the same time frame.

How to encourage women to work in manufacturing:

  • Boost the visibility of female leaders
  • Offer flexible work practices
  • Create opportunities for challenging projects
  • Develop mentorship programs
  • Promote a work-life balance
  • Remove or minimize the gender pay gap
  • Provide attractive pay and benefits

If you or someone you know is interested in a career in manufacturing, contact us today at (888) 833-8776 or fill out our web form.