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.


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.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me