Diversity in Manufacturing is Improving

August 09, 2018

A recent reported released by the corporate finance firm, Livingstone, reveals that gender diversity is improving in the manufacturing industry.

The report assessed 25 firms – all part of the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index (FTSE100) – and their female board member representation.

As of the beginning of this year, the manufacturers had a 32% female board member average, higher than the universal average of 28.4%, according to the Hampton-Alexander Review in November 2017.

However, only one of the companies featured 50% female board members, with five out of 10 being women.

Only 24% companies have 40% or more female directors on the board and 32% have female board representation of 25% or lower.

The sectors within the industry with the highest female representation are pharmaceuticals at 35%, and aerospace and defense at 37%.

Only three of the 25 companies featured female CEOs and two companies had female Directors.

“Looking at the wider picture, there’s no doubt that there has been a positive upward trend in female representation for manufacturing,” commented Graham Carberry, Partner at Livingstone.

“The fact that manufacturing surpasses the FTSE100 average here is encouraging given its perception as a ‘man’s world’, but there is clearly a way to go”.

“Some firms are lagging behind, and the clear lack of female CEOs and Chairs highlights a further problem: that while board participation is improving, it’s often weighted towards the non-executive roles, and masks a serious lack of representation in top leadership and executive roles.”

A lack of diversity may be at fault for the growing industry skills gap. While the reasons behind the skills gap are being debated, what is clear is that employers need to find new ways to find and obtain diversified candidates. Look inward and ask internal employees from underrepresented groups if they feel the company actively seeks diverse employees.

Requesting feedback impacts retention and diversity impacts growth.

When we share common goals, our differences give way to a united cause. It is more than just having a variety of view points. The presence of social diversity makes people with independent points of view willing to voice their opinions, and others willing to listen, increasing productivity and sales. Most importantly, valuing diversity is an attitude that speaks to the best in all of us.

Chapman, Sophie. (2018). “The manufacturing industry is improving its gender diversity, except for leadership roles”. Retrieved from