The Value of Diversity in Manufacturing

There has been a much-deserved focus on diversity in many careers in the past few years. One career that has been traditionally male (and often white male) oriented is manufacturing.  In my years in manufacturing in the 1990’s, 2000’s and 2010’s, I was very often the only female in the room, no matter what level of meeting I was in.  Although we have come a long way, and there are more females and people in other “under-served” categories on many production floors and in meeting rooms and board rooms, we still have a long way to go.

There is great value in diversity and in this article, I will dive further into what value diversity brings and provide some examples of programs that are designed to encourage diversity in manufacturing.

What Value Does Diversity Bring? 

 The value of having a diverse employee pool, from the production floor to top management provides many benefits, including the following from a Deloitte article, “The importance of manufacturing industry diversity”:

  • Increased productivity
  • Balance organizational management
  • Increased competitive advantage
  • Improved and more accurate decision making
  • Improvement in innovation
  • Improved financial performance
  • Higher customer satisfaction

According to this same article, the cost to not addressing key racial gaps over the past two decades is $16 trillion!

Examples of Programs Promoting Diversity in Manufacturing

FMA NBT Inclusion CampsThe Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) has an inclusion camp program through its Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs (NBT) summer camp program.  NBT works with partner organizations, schools, social service agencies, manufacturers and other employers to provide both hard and soft skills training to encourage those with disabilities to participate in manufacturing careers (and expose employers to the promise of employing disabled workers).  Other programs to promote inclusion were included in my recent article, “How to Hire Workers with Disabilities or Special Needs”.

Manufacturing Institute “Heroes MAKE America” Program – This program helps transition veterans from active duty to a manufacturing career.  The program includes skills training for both veterans and their spouses, virtual introductions for veterans/spouses to manufacturers needing workers, and job postings for open positions.

Women in ManufacturingThis organization promotes networking, mentorship and learning events to encourage women to not only be employed in manufacturing, but help them grow in their careers.  This is a national organization with many local chapters.  They offer programs such as Empowering Women in Production programs and conferences centered around Moms in Manufacturing and Summer and Winter Leadership Conferences.

As you can see, there are many impactful benefits to having a diverse workforce and many national resources to grow and attract a diverse workforce.  Focusing on diversity pays in many ways!

Scroll to Top