Wage gap in manufacturing limits pool of talent

One of the best ways manufacturing companies can diversify their workforce and access pools of talent that have been heretofore untapped is working to close the wage gap between men and women. According to a recent survey by Fortune that highlighted the positions with most dramatic compensation disparities, manufacturing careers accounted for several of the most inconsistent salaries between men and women. 

  • 70.0 percent wage gap: First-line supervisors of production and operating workers
  • 72.1 percent wage gap: Production, planning and expediting clerks
  • 72.8 percent wage gap: Production workers, all other

When women are paid so much less than their male counterparts in manufacturing careers, it's little wonder why fewer than 19 percent of female job seekers listed "manufacturing" as one of the top five career paths, in terms of opportunity. This was according to a study by Plante Moran seeking to identify problem areas for women in the workforce. 

"The bright spot? The plethora of reports and studies emerging on the wage gap reflect a broad effort to shed light on the issue and inform the public about pay disparity," explains Bridget Bergin of Manufacturing.net. "The more people know about the woman in West Virginia who will lose over $530,000 during the course of her career, the sooner wage inequality will be a thing of the past."

With an estimated skilled labor shortage in the millions of openings versus available candidates, wage equality is an issue that could help recruit more qualified professionals to the field. Without incentivizing groups like women and minorities to explore careers in the industry, companies work from a much smaller pool of talent. In order for those companies to be as competitive as possible in the next several years, creating more inclusive workforces will be critical to staffing machine shops and large manufacturing operations alike.