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workforce, diversity, challenges, skills

Workforce diversity is the key

New digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoTs), robots and cobots, augmented and virtual reality, are transforming the world of production. They are enabling more efficient processes and generating added value, not just for industry but for local communities and the environment. We are also moving towards a green revolution, as the transition to a more sustainable economy takes pace and manufacturing finds itself optimising efforts to become more energy-efficient and sustainable.

“This transformation will need more high-skilled employees that can respond to these opportunities and challenges. If businesses are to capitalise on these opportunities, they must put people at the top of their agenda – all people. This means creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Make UK (the UK manufacturer organisation), in its newly released report, ‘Manufacturing Our Recovery Through Inclusion’.

“To ensure that the right strategies and policies are in place, manufacturers need to embed equality, diversity & inclusion (ED&I) across all business units. Fortunately, more and more manufacturing business leaders realise that they need to include the people element into their business strategies. Over a third (36%) of manufacturers have said they already have an ED&I strategy within their business and a further third (31%) are in the process of introducing strategies. Manufacturers agree that giving equal rights and opportunities to all people is simply the right thing to do,” it added.

Make UK’s research shows that manufacturers are stepping up their commitment to a more balanced and diverse workforce to make greater use of the talent pool and to improve their performance. However, its findings make it very clear that there is ‘a very long way to go to achieve this goal with major longstanding challenges facing the sector in terms of age, ethnicity and gender balance’.

“On average, under a third of the manufacturing workforce (29%) is made up of women while 18% of the workforce are from ethnic minorities. Greater occupation segregation is apparent with women comprising just 8% of professional roles such as chartered engineers, whilst ethnic minority groups make up on average just 5% of board roles. Diversity does not concentrate on specific factors but is truly intersectional. Make UK commits to leading the way in understanding and supporting all aspects of how we can promote and encourage a diverse and inclusive manufacturing sector,” it concluded.

For full details of the report, see https://bssa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Manufacturing-Our-Recovery-Through-Inclusion-160621.pdf

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