U.S. manufacturing is still facing a crisis and women are the solution for it.

According to a 2019 report by Gallup, more than 2 million workers are needed in manufacturing industries like aerospace, defense, automotive, processing, and industrial products.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that women accounted for 47 percent of total employees of the U.S. workforce, but only represented 30 percent of it in manufacturing.


According to The Deloitte study of 600 women in manufacturing, women leave or simply ignore work opportunities in manufacturing because of:

  • Unattractive pay/income: 41%
  • Lack of promotion opportunities: 41%
  • Poor working relationships: 39%
  • Lack of work-life balance: 37%
  • Lack of challenging assignments: 36%

The study also reported how gender diversity within manufacturing improves innovation, growth, overall job performance, and profitability.

So, in what ways can manufacturers focus their recruiting efforts on educating, attracting, and retaining more women into their businesses?

Change the Overall Internal Culture so Women Feel Welcomed

To start, manufacturers need to change things internally. Women need to see the clear paths of advancement, know they have a chance at equal pay, and see work-life balance opportunities.

There are several ways companies can accomplish these ideas. For one, they can clearly define measurements of success with weekly, monthly, and yearly performance reviews. They can also recognize women for their accomplishments in company announcements and offer compensation increases with promotions and good performance evaluations. Making compensation wages public also provides transparency for equal pay across genders.

They can encourage a healthy work-life balance with flex hours, paid daycare options, and extended maternity leave. Some companies have incorporated wellness challenges that employees can work together on to improve healthy eating habits and exercise.

Identify and Increase Visibility of Women Role Models and Mentors

Once companies recruit more female employees, they need a strategy to nurture them. Identifying and increasing visibility of women leaders within the company helps female employees connect with one another and feel a part of the group. In turn, this helps increase their job performance and overall contribution to the company’s goals.

Another good opportunity for manufacturers to connect female employees to role models and mentors is through organizations within the industry, such as Women in Manufacturing (WIM), Women of Today’s Manufacturing (WOTM), and Influential Women In Manufacturing (IWIM). These organizations provide a support system for women that they can learn from and network with to gain confidence within the industry so they can become leaders themselves.

Expose Younger Generations to Innovations and Technology

Younger generations value making a difference within the world, especially among millennials. Millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented individuals who have high expectations of their employers, seek new challenges at work, and are not afraid to questioning authority. However, most millennials are unaware of the benefits and impact that manufacturing has.

Manufacturers can attract and recruit younger generations by providing hands-on internships and apprenticeships that challenge their critical thinking and allow them to collaborate with experts within the industry.

Another way for manufacturers to connect with younger generations is getting involved within their local communities. Visit the surrounding schools and any events that focus on engineering and manufacturing. Sponsor a robotics team or engineering group and provide tools and/or components and expert advice on how to create a successful design.

Invite students to facility tours so they can see how products are designed and manufactured on the shop floor. Introduce them to customers and share stories on how certain products have made a difference in society.

To find out more why women are the future of U.S. manufacturing, join Women of Today’s Manufacturing (WOTM) livestream on Tuesday, September 29th at 8:30 am CST and listen to Joie Vittetow, Toni Baumann, Hannah Hines, and Penny Bauer on what attracted them to manufacturing, why they selected it as a career pathway, and their thoughts on why women are the solution to the U.S. manufacturing crisis.