Skip to content
women in manufacturing

The data about women in manufacturing was not encouraging in the last decade. Much will change in the ’20s. Those data usually showed the lack of gender diversity on the plant floor or in executive positions of Fortune 1000 manufacturing enterprises.

The Manufacturing Institute, APICS, and Deloitte surveyed more than 600 women in manufacturing and conducted nearly 20 manufacturing executive interviews to explore how effectively manufacturing companies are attracting, recruiting, and retaining women, and what should be done to close the gender gap.

The women we surveyed are well-educated (90 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or above), experienced (71 percent have been working over 15 years), hold a variety of senior positions, and are employed by large companies (52 percent work in organizations with annual revenue over $1 billion).

What Does the Data Show

This last data point disproportionately weights the data toward large manufacturers which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only represents 11% of the total GDP of the sector in the United States. Smaller manufacturers ($2M – $20M) represent more than 75% of the financial contribution to the economy. It is in these smaller industrial firms where women will become most powerful as new owners during this new decade.

Women represent a vast talent pool: Women constitute one of U.S. manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. These are plant floor positions; senior management and ownership are significantly lower.

The trend toward ownership of industry has been seeded in recent data, with women earning more than half of all associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.  More women have been advancing in their careers, holding more than half of all U.S. managerial and professional positions.

Women in manufacturing

Who Are These Women in Manufacturing

These powerful and capable women are now in their mid-30’s to late 50’s. They are successful and have made millions for their employers.  Earning levels have capped out and only business ownership will allow these women to take charge of their career and financial trajectory.

The “old boys network” in manufacturing is plentiful with men seeking an exit strategy.  These men (60 to 80 years old) are ready to retire or are facing health challenges necessitating a departure. None wish to have a “fire sale” and get peanuts for a successful manufacturing business built over decades. Enter successful, MBA-holding women who realize that sales, marketing, business development, and technology (particularly customer experience online, UX) can grow well-established manufacturing firms with their expertise.

Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers is aligning powerful women with the extraordinary manufacturing business acquisition opportunities.

Women entrepreneurs have first-hand knowledge that gender diversity benefits an organization through an improved ability to innovate, generate a higher return on equity, and increase profitability. These new women entrepreneurs are committed to significant earning growth AND understand that when employees experience an organization committed to inclusion, innovation and profitability follow.

The data of women-owned manufacturing companies are not precise, however, approximately six percent of privately held manufacturing companies (with $2M – $20M in annual revenue) were owned by women by the beginning of 2020. Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers will be tracking this metric throughout the ’20s. With a 2.5% increase in female ownership each year for the next decade, nearly one in three manufacturing firms will be owned by a woman by 2030.

About Frances Brunelle

Frances Brunelle is the founder of Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc., which specializes in the sale of lower middle-market manufacturing companies nationally. Fran and her team help to ensure the continuity of U.S. Manufacturing by transitioning ownership to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Recently Fran was named to 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions). Fran will also be the host of WAM (Women and Manufacturing) podcast, a Jacket Media production. Fran writes on topics that help manufacturing business owners prepare their companies for sale and navigate the sale process to ensure a positive financial result in support of their retirement.

Leave a Comment





Scroll To Top
0 Shares
Share via
Copy link