Diversity in the workplace is not just good policy, it is good for business. Boardrooms and offices work best when they are reflective of the marketplace they serve, as noted in the “Women in Plastics” series published in Plastics News on July 20.
Plastics News should be commended for profiling some of our industry's female leadership, while recognizing that we need to encourage more women to consider a career in manufacturing and engineering. Plastics manufacturing jobs provide good working conditions, competitive salaries and benefits, and therefore they are attractive to women and men — and should be available to women and men.
Throughout my career, I've watched the industry evolve as more and more women have opted for positions in manufacturing. Society reaps the benefits of having more women in prominent positions as the increase in diversity introduces more unique perspectives, different information and healthy competition into the marketplace of ideas. Similarly, companies that work to increase diversity among their senior-level employees can also experience similar benefits that directly support and enhance their business operations.
We're moving in the right direction, but we still have room to grow. And, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association is leading by example. Our team at SPI is the best, smartest group of people I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and what's more, they're extremely diverse. Women possess as many senior-level positions at SPI as their male counterparts. In total, 58 percent of our team is female. We will maintain this level of diversity, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the smart thing to do.
We can't afford to ignore diversity in the workplace. It is incumbent upon us as industry leaders to encourage the next generation of female managers, vice presidents and CEOs to consider a career in the exciting world of plastics manufacturing.
Bill Carteaux is President and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., based in Washington.