Women Who Graduate from STEM Programs Are More Than 2X Likely As Men To Pursue A Career In Manufacturing

April 20, 2023
  • Xometry and Women in Manufacturing Association’s (WiM) Third-Annual “Career Advancement for Manufacturing” Survey Finds An Overwhelming Majority Of Women (82%) Are Likely To Recommend A Career In Manufacturing
  • But Representation In Leadership Roles Continues To Lag, With Only One In Four Women In Executive Or Decision-Making Roles
  • Agriculture, Electronics and Environmental Are The Top Three Industries Leading The Way With Women In Leadership Roles

NEW YORK, April 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Women who pursue an education in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (‘STEM’) are more than twice as likely as men to choose a career in manufacturing, according to the third-annual ‘Career Advancement for Manufacturing Report,’ produced in partnership between Xometry and Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM). Thirty-eight percent of women intentionally seeking a career in industry graduated from a STEM program, compared with just 18% of men, the survey found, underscoring STEM as a critical pathway to ensuring more representation for women in industry.

The annual survey released today also found that an overwhelming majority of women (82%) are likely to recommend a career in manufacturing, up from 75% in 2022, yet actual representation of women in the manufacturing industry has remained relatively unchanged. Since 2020, only one in four manufacturing leaders are women, a persistent sign that more can be done to help advance women in key leadership roles. Still, the number of women who believe they have made significant progress in manufacturing has nearly doubled in the last three years – up from 17% in 2020 to more than 30% today.

“While we are pleased to see the continued optimism from women in the manufacturing sector, the fact that actual representation has remained largely unchanged in all levels of the industry shows that more needs to be done to ensure inclusion and proper representation,” said Kathy Mayerhofer, Xometry’s Chief Sales Officer. “The manufacturing industry of today is more high-tech and offers more leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities than ever, and we’d like to bring more women into an industry that is so pivotal to our global economy.”

“It is so encouraging to see that more than 8 in 10 respondents to this year’s survey would recommend a career in manufacturing. We know that careers in this industry deliver powerful opportunities for individual advancement, fulfillment and prosperity and we are hopeful that the continued efforts of our members and industry to highlight modern manufacturing will recruit even more individuals into it,” said Allison Grealis, president and founder of WiM and the WiM Education Foundation.

“This report underscores a very clear takeaway: the time for action is now,” said Cathy Ma, Vice President of Growth Marketing for Xometry’s Thomasnet. “We can and must take clear steps to affect actual and long-term change, to reposition manufacturing as a high-tech industry, to further support the women who are already working in industry, and to compel younger women to pursue educational and vocational opportunities in STEM.”

The survey also found the following:

  • Manufacturing as a Career – An overwhelming majority of women (82%) are likely to recommend a career in manufacturing, up from 75% in 2021.
  • STEM Programs for Workforce Development – For those intentionally seeking careers in the industry, 38% of women did so because they graduated from a STEM program, compared to just 18% of men. As manufacturing continues to drive innovation, emerging tech positions such as robotics and automation specialists, computer programmers, and smart systems integration technicians are in high demand.
  • Women in Leadership by Sector – Agriculture (28%), electronics (27%), and environmental (27%) are the sectors leading the charge by having the highest percentage of female leadership in manufacturing.
  • Most Desired Benefits – Health insurance (79%), flexible work schedule (72%), and 401(k) match (66%) are the most desired employee benefits.

Feedback from survey respondents reveal the unique ways in which companies are currently tackling how to bring more women into manufacturing:

  • Education – “Make young women [aged] 15 to 25 aware of options and pay in manufacturing; K-12 educators know nothing of manufacturing, never talk about it, don't recommend it, and think it is dirty and dangerous.”
  • Inclusivity – “Have a strong percentage of women at each level of ranking in the hierarchy. You see a strong showing in lower levels, but less and less as you rise, and even lower for minority women.”
  • Retention & Company Culture – “More onsite options for women — childcare, nursing/pumping rooms, flexible time for doctors appointments, fertility coverage, parental leave, higher 401k match, equal pay.”

Xometry’s Thomas division, a leader in product sourcing, supplier selection, and marketing solutions for industry, partnered for a third year with Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM) on the annual survey. The study was conducted online using Qualtrics over a 13-day period from March 1 to March 13, 2023. The research surveyed 1,170 North American suppliers and industry professionals who work at companies with revenues spanning from less than $1 million to more than $1 billion. Click here to get a copy of the Career Advancement for Women in Manufacturing Annual Report.

About Xometry
Xometry (NASDAQ: XMTR) powers the industries of today and tomorrow by connecting the people with big ideas to the manufacturers who can bring them to life. Xometry’s digital marketplace gives manufacturers the critical resources they need to grow their business while also making it easy for buyers at Fortune 1000 companies to tap into global manufacturing capacity and create locally resilient supply chains. Learn more at www.xometry.com or follow @xometry.

About WiM
The Women in Manufacturing® Association is a more than 17,000-member-strong association dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. It encourages the engagement of women who want to share perspectives, gain cutting-edge manufacturing information, improve leadership and communication skills, participate in sponsoring programs and network with industry peers.

Matthew Hutchison
VP, Corporate Communications

Illume PR for Xometry