Improving diversity and creating more inclusive work environments is a daunting challenge for any sector. There are no quick fixes, which is why so many companies have put it on the back burner for so long.
But diversity and inclusion (D&I) is well worth investing in, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining skilled employees. More diverse companies are able to boost everything from employee satisfaction and wellbeing to talent attraction, as well as improving decision making and customer representation.
Manufacturing has tended to lag behind other industries when it comes to increasing D&I. This isn’t surprising, as it faces challenges other sectors don’t. One of the main issues is the sector’s image problem, where women in particular have historically viewed manufacturing as a male-dominated, unwelcoming place to work.
According to an article in Automation World:
“We as an industry need to do our part to attract more women, minorities and Millennials to the manufacturing workforce. That requires a shift in attitude and an overhaul to the current corporate culture in order to make it more diversified and inclusive.”
Positive steps manufacturing firms can take right now
The transition to a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming company culture can be a slow process. But this doesn’t mean employers should be put off starting. In fact, there are key changes that companies can and should be making right now.
Here are just a few examples of positive steps in the right direction:
1. Create access to STEM training and reskilling programs
Employees who are given opportunities for training, upskilling and career development tend to stick around for longer.
By opening up access to training in STEM fields, you’ll not only be reengaging your workforce (particularly women and other underrepresented groups) and improving staff retention.
You could also be training up the next cohort of qualified female candidates for technical roles within your company, which could help you tackle looming skills shortages. It could be the first step towards rebalancing gender equality within the business, and across the industry as a whole.
2. Pledge equal pay
This is a relatively easy, but powerful, statement for any leader to make – that male and female employees will receive equal pay. This kind of formal pledge could help with retention, especially considering that 49% of female workers told a randstadt survey that they’d leave their jobs on discovering a male colleague in the same role was earning 25% more than them.
But it’s critical to walk the walk, and deliver on your promises. Start working with third-party benchmarks to assess your compensation packages to see how you’re doing on pay equality, and how you can make improvements to pay everyone fairly.
3. Develop a diversity-focused recruitment strategy
The easiest way to find and attract the kind of diverse candidates you’re looking for is to work with a recruitment specialist. They can develop a tailored recruitment strategy which can make a big difference to the makeup of your workforce, every time you hire.
Looking to improve your diversity through strategic hiring? Work with our manufacturing sector specialists here at Aqumen Recruitment – get in touch to start your search.