New Research: 'In Her Own Words: Breaking the Glass Ceiling is Good for Business' Explores How Manufacturers Recruit and Retain Female Talent

The truths behind growing and delivering necessary talent from women leaders in the sector with strategies to close the gender gap.

Women's representation in the manufacturing sector remains virtually unchanged since the 1970s. Why? Manufacturers Alliance Foundation set out to find some answers. Through dozens of first-person interviews and survey data, "In Her Own Words: Breaking the Glass Ceiling is Good for Business," examines:

  • Why the disparities still exist, particularly in the C-Suite.
  • What manufacturers can do to recruit and retain female talent.
  • Guidance for the next generation for successful careers in manufacturing.

Manufacturing faces an ever-growing talent and skills crisis, and recruiting women to its ranks is critical for companies to remain competitive. There is also a clear divide on how women and men see progress in the industry. Eighty-two percent of men compared to only 38 percent of women who answered the survey believe that the manufacturing industry has made significant progress in providing equal opportunities and pay to women in the past five years. 

"Companies that help make manufacturing more attractive to women will win," said Manufacturers Alliance President and CEO Stephen Gold. "Not only is this the smart thing to do for increased competitiveness, it's the smart thing for the bottom line. We undertook this important research to help find ways to increase women's representation in the sector and provide insights on creating a path for women leaders and growing women's leadership in the C-Suite." 

By speaking with women in many different levels of their careers across functions, the Alliance was able to offer a broad sampling of perspectives and identify some common themes. 

The report also shares strategies companies can implement today to enhance their ability to attract and retain female talent. 

  • Benchmark your organization on flexibility and paid Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Be intentional about recruiting and interviewing
  • Improve and expand job rotation programs
  • Update your mentoring program and assign sponsors
  • Audit and build female bench strength 
  • Be transparent about career ladders, job descriptions, and salary bands
  • Make intimidation, harassment, and discrimination zero-tolerance zones 
  • Consider incentive and data transparency
  • Get leadership on board

The Foundation invites manufacturers to join them Oct. 11, 2023, 11:30 am to 3 pm in Chicago for Women in Leadership Is Good for Business: Forum & Luncheon, which will share the results of the research. It will also feature a keynote from Wall Street Journal best-selling author Randi Braun. Register here: 

The Manufacturers Alliance Foundation thanks their premier sponsor on this effort, Crowe.

And a thank-you to our partners who helped underwrite this effort:

And thank you to our supporting partners:

About Manufacturers Alliance Foundation 

Manufacturers Alliance Foundation is the 501(c)(3) partner of Manufacturers Alliance. The Alliance Foundation provides educational opportunities for the manufacturing community and its stakeholders through insights, events, and tools for today's most critical business decisions. The Alliance Foundation focuses on talent, technology, digital transformation, and competitiveness. Learn more about the Alliance Foundation:

About Manufacturers Alliance

Manufacturers Alliance powers leaders. We bring together an unparalleled network of manufacturing executives to advance their careers, grow their companies, and support the whole community. We accomplish our mission through peer communities, education, and business insights on the topics that matter most to the sector. In our 90th year, we continue to drive the manufacturing community to be smarter, faster, and better. Learn more:

Source: Manufacturers Alliance Foundation