Manufacturing’s inter-gender gap: Women in the field see benefits, those not in the field are skeptical

WiM survey finds job satisfaction among women in manufacturing, but young woman don’t consider it a potential career choice.

By Joy Chang October 3, 2014

There is a disconnection between the perception young women have about manufacturing and what women in manufacturing actually experience.

A survey conducted by Women in Manufacturing (WiM) indicated that while a high percentage of women working in manufacturing said their jobs are interesting, challenging, and they are paid well, less than 10% of young women just entering the job market consider manufacturing a field that offers career opportunity.

In the survey, young women ranked compensation as the most important factor they are seeking in a career, followed closely by interesting and challenging work. More than 80% of respondents working in manufacturing said their work is interesting and challenging and 50% of them indicate compensation is the most significant benefit of the sector.

The survey also found 74% of women working in manufacturing believe that the sector offers multiple career paths for women and more than half of women in manufacturing said the sector is a leading industry for job growth for women. In addition, 64% of women working in manufacturing reported they would recommend a career in manufacturing to a young woman.

Despite these high numbers, young women who are just beginning to consider their career options remain unaware of the opportunities available to them in the manufacturing sector. Less than half of young women believe manufacturing offers the interesting and challenging work they seek, and less than 10% of young women placed manufacturing among the top five career fields they feel offer the most opportunity for young women today.

"On the whole, these survey results should be seen as a call to action in a space where there is great opportunity," said WiM director Allison Grealis. "When we know what young women are looking for in careers, we are in a better position to demonstrate how manufacturing can help them meet their aspirations. We have long known that women are good for manufacturing; and these survey results go a long way to showing that manufacturing is good for women, too,"

The survey was conducted among 870 women who are either currently working in manufacturing or young women who are just beginning to consider their career options. WiM released the survey, created in conjunction with Plante Moran at its fourth annual WiM summit held in Schaumburg, Ill. Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

Women in Manufacturing (WiM) is a national organization dedicated to the attraction, retention and advancement of women who are pursuing or have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. WiM is a CFE Media content partner. 

– Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media, jchang(at)

– See the survey fact sheet and survey report.

– See related stories from the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Summit below.