U.S. manufacturing is no stranger to fluctuations. The 2008 Great Recession took its toll on the industry, which eventually found its footing only to run into the COVID-19 pandemic.
This time, employers aren’t looking to fill conventional manufacturing jobs. Lucky for them, a mostly untapped demographic can fill the job void in the ever-growing automated environment.
These opportunities are opening the door to more women joining the industry. According to the United States Census Bureau, as of March 2021, women made up 47% of the American workforce, yet only about 30% worked in manufacturing. Furthermore, only 25% of management positions were held by women.
Additionally, the women working in manufacturing made an average of 16% more than the national median annual income for women employed.
The pandemic affected the growth of a diversified workforce, but in 2021, the numbers are starting to climb again. The bureau provides a figure that said there was a .5% increase, between pre-pandemic and 2021, for women ages 55 to 64 who began working manufacturing jobs.
While manufacturing still carries the stigma of a male-dominated industry, attitudes are changing. Companies are discovering gender diversity increases employee morale and retention.
Also, the range for what is considered a manufacturing job is growing as careers in cybersecurity and other high-tech areas are becoming viable options.
Manufacturers are catching on to the trend of women in the industry and have even begun the recruiting process by encouraging young women to study STEM subjects; skills employers are looking for more and more.