According to the National Association of Manufacturers Q3 2023 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, approximately 72% of respondents listed attracting and retaining a quality workforce as one of their top challenges. Also, Deloitte’s 2021 Manufacturing Talent report found that approximately 45% of manufacturing executive respondents had turned down business opportunities due to a lack of workers. These findings represent some of the ongoing causes and effects of lack of business growth for manufacturing firms.
The Important Role DEI Can Play in Growing Your Manufacturing Firm
Manufacturing Is Dominated by White Males
The 2022 U.S. Department of Labor statistics showed that the 15,231 industry employees were categorized into the following groups:
- 3% Women
- 7% White
- 8% African American
- 4% Asian
- 4% Hispanic or Latino
The data show that the manufacturing industry still is dominated by white males. Because women and people of color historically have not been hired or felt included in frontline manufacturing culture, these groups often do not seek jobs in the industry. As a result, there is a significant lack of diversity in employee age, ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and socioeconomic status in manufacturing.
Manufacturing Has Trouble Attracting Talent
One reason why manufacturing firms have difficulty attracting and retaining employees because women, millennials, and Gen Z typically do not want to enter the industry:
- The manufacturing work environment often is not perceived to be as appealing as in other industries.
- The typical frontline manufacturing professional’s schedule is not as flexible as the remote and hybrid options in other industries.
- Women, millennials, and Gen Z tend to want remote or hybrid work options and a flexible schedule to accommodate personal responsibilities and interests.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Can Help Your Manufacturing Firm Grow
According to the Deloitte report, manufacturing executives agree that increased diversity and balanced gender representation likely would expand the industry’s available talent pool. Also, 84% of these executives stated their manufacturing firms must do more work to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. These actions would help strengthen employee attraction, development, and retention.
Provide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training
Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion training for employees at all levels:
- Because the majority of your workforce and your job openings involve frontline employees, these employees must be included in your diversity, equity, and inclusion training for it to be effective.
- Since manufacturing requires collaboration, you need diverse frontline employees to accept, respect, trust, and communicate with each other to complete quality work.
- Proper diversity, equity, and inclusion training helps increase productivity, problem-solving, and teamwork for a healthier bottom line.
Emphasize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Throughout Your Manufacturing Firm
Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of your manufacturing operations:
- Establish policies and practices that address discrimination, unconscious biases, and microaggressions.
- Encourage managers to model inclusive behaviors for employees to follow.
- Include diversity, equity, and inclusion criteria in manager performance evaluations.
- Tie diversity, equity, and inclusion goals to personal incentives for managers and executives.
- Form employee resource groups (ERGs) for employees who identify as female, Black, Latinx, or LGBTQ+ to better support your workforce.
Measure the Success of Your Initiatives
Include objective progress markers to measure the results of your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives:
- Review the percentage of diverse representation within your manufacturing firm.
- Track any changes in hiring and retention efforts for diverse employees.
- Focus on whether your diversity and inclusion efforts are working.
- Determine which areas still must be addressed.
Include subjective progress markers to measure the results of your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives:
- Conduct employee surveys, entrance and exit interviews, and yearly evaluations of employee participation in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- Share the results with employees.
- Request employee feedback to support improvement.
Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Provide tuition assistance, cross-training, on-the-job training, and other professional development opportunities to employees at all levels. These programs are especially important for entry-level and frontline employees to advance within your organization.
Emphasizing professional development results in a diverse, equitable, inclusive workforce of highly skilled professionals with ongoing opportunities for internal advancement. These opportunities encourage employee loyalty and career growth within your manufacturing firm.
Build a Stronger Company Culture
Emphasizing diversity and inclusion in your manufacturing firm’s workforce leads to equity. All employees have fair access to resources and opportunities to thrive within your organization. As a result, historical and systemic barriers and privileges no longer keep employees of specific demographics from reaching their career goals while working for your company.
Attract and Retain Manufacturing Talent
Prioritization of diversity, equity, and inclusion helps employees feel a sense of belonging within your organization. As a result, they are likely to pursue long-term careers with your company. Therefore, you save time and money on hiring, onboarding, and training.
Increase Your Talent Pool
Leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion in your hiring process to increase your talent pool:
- Actively promote your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in your recruitment materials and during interviews.
- Help your manufacturing firm attract a wider range of frontline professionals.
- Help change the perception of the industry to become more welcoming and aligned with what employees are looking for in employers.
Drive Manufacturing Innovation
Having a diverse, equitable, inclusive manufacturing firm typically leads to high levels of employee engagement, performance, and productivity. The results include strong collaboration, problem-solving, and innovation. These activities help improve your bottom line.
Maintain Accountability Among Manufacturing Leadership
Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organization helps maintain accountability among leadership. Executives should prioritize these initiatives as much as your manufacturing firm’s everyday operations for optimized success.
Do You Need Help with Your Hiring Efforts?
Include Vector Technical in your hiring process to add diverse candidates to your manufacturing firm. Get in touch with us to start today.