Manufacturers have been working to change the image of work inside factories to get people to think of them as bright and filled with opportunities to advance, rather than being places that are "dirty and dark."
But perhaps they should be working on updating their own attitudes about the image of a typical manufacturing employee, Sara Tracey, managing director of workforce services for the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, said during the 2022 International Silicone Conference earlier this month in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
"Manufacturing is older, whiter and [more] male than the workforce on average," Tracey said. "So if we continue to recruit older white males, we will never be able to close the skill gap. ... We cannot close the labor gap without also building a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, because there are just not enough people that 'traditionally' work in manufacturing."
Hiring strategies that also embrace diversity, equity and inclusion practices are key to finding the future workforce, she said at the event sponsored by our sister paper Rubber News.
That could mean something as complex as reworking shift schedules to allow for more flexibility or as basic as making sure there are women's bathroom facilities on the shop floor.
On that same topic, on Aug. 8, Plastics News will run its second special report on diversity, equity and inclusion in the plastics industry, and we'd like to know what your company is doing to promote a more diverse business so we can share some of these best practices with more firms. Please head over to www.plasticsnews.com/DiversityIssue and fill out a survey to help us out.