The manufacturing industry is one of the key industries that struggles to implement a diverse workforce. Often branded a male environment and unsuitable for females to work in.
According to the latest ONS data the gender split in manufacturing is 76% men and 24% women. With women taking less than quarter of the sector’s workforce, there is a much wider pool of talent for manufacturing to draw upon. Introducing STEM subjects and promoting them to children at an earlier age can help increase the number of women in the industry.
According to the data collated in the ethnicity of workforce within sectors, the manufacturing sector has an incredibly low 7% of BAME individuals in the workforce.
The interest in manufacturing for Women and BAME population is rising, thanks to increased awareness in schools at an early and age and the potential career progression elements.
In the meantime how can companies look to adapt their ways of recruitment to ensure they are capturing these skills?
Sampling International is one of the UK’s leading sampling manufacturers. With over 120 staff currently working in the business 60% of these staff are women, which is impressive to have such a split especially in the manufacturing.
Sampling International hires new employees from a range of ethnicities, abilities, gender and cultures and has seen the benefit in embracing a diverse workforce on production and staff retention.
When looking to recruit the company ensures that the shortlisting process is open minded and is more about recruiting someone with the right work ethic / attitude.
When they look at the current workforce it shows that this open minded method has brought a range of diverse employees from different ages, ethnicities and cultures. To do this they advertise the role in general and are realistic about what’s expected they don’t describe their ideal person, as not everyone will fit that ‘perfect’ persona.
The company is in a unique industry where there is a skills gap in certain roles, so Sampling International has gone against the ’norm’ and adapted its working patterns for staff by offering flexible working to its seamstresses’ for example, a predominantly female team. The company makes its shifts fit around childcare and having flexible maternity leave including phase return gives staff a healthy work life balance. This has helped with productivity and retention.
When asked if the company can see influence in productivity and morale in the teams by hiring people from various ages and ethnicities Andrew Goldspink, Operations manager commented
“Absolutely. We have a diverse workforce from people with various ethnicities and age groups and we can see the difference in work ethics. Some can tend to have a little more drive than others sometime but this often sparks some healthy competition amongst the team, supporting production and creating a great atmosphere to work in.”
Thoughts on creating a diverse workforce
Creating a diverse workforce doesn’t have to be complicated, it sounds harder than it is. Being open minded and showcasing you are an employer that welcomes diversity can be one quick step to solve the problem.
Flexible working is a reoccurring theme that helps with productivity and retention, for people in with difficult schedules due to personal life having an understanding employer is what can make the job more attractive.
For further information
You can speak to a job connector at Works Better.