Leaders within companies nationwide are finally realizing how important diversity and inclusiveness within a workplace are for their employees and for the success and advancement of their business. A study done by Catalyst found that businesses that had more female board directors and leaders also had better success financially.
As the demand for female employees increases, women should take advantage of opportunities to close the gender gap within industries that are seriously lacking in female presence. Below are three industries with untapped potential for women to take the lead.
Women in Tech
There is a large gap between the demand for tech skills and the number of skilled workers to fill these positions. This means that there are a lot of jobs for women in tech that offer high starting salaries and great opportunities. Unlike older industries, such as finance and business, the tech world doesn’t suffer with as much gender discrimination and is more open-minded and respectful of new ideas, regardless of gender.
So how do we direct women toward this industry? Eileen Carey and Lauren Mosenthal, CEOs of Glassbreakers, which is an online platform that matches women in tech, believe the answer is through mentorships. Although opportunities in tech are wide open for women, it’s still a male-dominated field. Finding a mentor through Glassbreakers, a networking event or a university will help women newly entering the industry to flourish and succeed.
Women in the Manufacturing Industry
Women are underrepresented in almost every manufacturing sector in the U.S., so plenty of untapped potential exists for women in this industry. Women make up only 27 percent of the manufacturing labor force compared to 47 percent of the U.S. labor force. This large gap provides plenty of job opportunities for women, especially as the U.S. economy continues to grow and yield thousands of new jobs in the manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing companies need to support their female employees’ success while fighting against old prejudice and issues of underrepresentation in the industry. According to a study by Deloitte, companies also need to invest in active recruitment programs that pursue female employees.
Manufacturing companies must also focus on creating an environment with high retention rates of women by catering to their career priorities such as interesting and challenging assignments, attractive pay and work-life balance. By designing positions that appeal to women’s career priorities and providing a diverse work environment, manufacturing companies and female employees alike will benefit immensely.
Women in Construction
According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, the median age of a construction worker is rising. This means that the industry is unattractive not only to women but also to the young generation overall. This fact, combined with the overall shortage of skilled workers in the U.S., has the construction industry in a pickle and paves the way for better opportunities for women.
As a result of these shortages, companies, organizations and benefactors are working together to shift the overall view and treatment of women in this field and to provide more networking opportunities, mentorship programs and sponsors within the organization.
Associations such as the National Association of Professional Women in Construction or the National Association of Women in Construction focus on advocating for their women members and provide free subscriptions to construction magazines, discounts on business-related services, educational opportunities, scholarships and leadership development.
Conferences tailored for women in construction, such as Groundbreaking Women in Construction, offer seminars, workshops, networking opportunities and trade shows; they deliberately address the gender gap in the industry and what women and companies should do to close that gap.