STEM studies and a career in manufacturing have traditionally belonged to a ‘man’s world.’ While a new study by Emerson found out that the interest in pursuing STEM careers in the US was on the rise, only 39% have ”felt encouraged to do so,” the study concluded.

Author Muge Hizal Dogaroglu | Copperberg

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According to Industry Week’s article, women were even less inclined to do so. “Two out of three women said they were not encouraged to pursue a career in STEM.” Of that group, many gave a lack of female role models within the industry and stereotypes against women as their main reasons.

The survey results show a missed opportunity as “industries continue to report that they cannot find individuals with the skills required for today’s advanced workplaces.” According to the National Association of Manufacturers, more than 70% of manufacturers are having difficulties in dealing with the shortage of skilled labour.

Lisa Bergstrom, Managing Director at Copperberg shared her insights on this issue and pointed out how the lack of women in the talent pool might be harming the manufacturing industry:

“This is a question that is often discussed in our community. The truth is, we see very few female leaders in the manufacturing industry. That, of course, influences how the industry is perceived. If you are a woman aspiring a career within for example STEM, maybe you seek opportunities in another industry? One thing that often comes to my mind is that by not being an attractive workplace for women; you are as an employer basically only choosing from 50% of the potential applicants. From a competitive perspective, it cuts down the selection of talent to half. I truly believe that the manufacturers who will be able to pave the way for female leadership, will in the long term be the most successful ones.”

Thomas Igou, Head of Content at Copperberg confirmed the issue of underrepresentation of women by sharing his experiences and survey results within the service industry:

“Unfortunately, it’s an issue we experience ourselves at our events, where female representation among our participants is quite low.  And in a recent study, we conducted with 215 service leaders, we found out that half of the manufacturers have less than 10% of women represented on the managerial level within their aftersales/service business.  Hopefully, more women can find confidence and internal support to speak at events and establish themselves as role models for new generations.”