We hear a lot about gender diversity on the news, in business blogs, in surveys—basically in every media outlet. And for good reason! It remains an important and timely topic. In our current atmosphere, discussions of gender pervade the public discourse, especially in regard to business. But what about manufacturing and distribution companies, specifically? We’re here to answer that. Today we’re going to discuss how a gender diverse workforce can boost productivity for manufacturers and distributors alike.
The State of the Industry
The heavy equipment industry is certainly a profitable one. A study from Zion Market Research expects the market to expand to $231.3 billion by the year 2025. Manufacturers and distributors both play a key role in that projected growth.
What does gender diversity have to do with the growth of the industry? As it turns out, quite a lot. For example, according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), “Women now make up 9.1 percent of the construction industry in the United States,” an industry that includes the manufacturing and distribution of heavy construction equipment. Of the approximate 939,000 female employees in the industry, 45% work in sales or in offices, and 31% work in management. The other 24% work mostly in maintenance, service, and transportation. Though women only make up 9% of the industry, the skills they bring to the equipment industry are a tremendous source of business productivity.
How Does Gender Diversity Increase Business Productivity?
There are many ways, but here are those we consider the most important.
- Lower Likelihood of Litigation: Businesses with a diverse workforce are much less likely to face lawsuits for gender discrimination. The EEOC states that federal laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), age, disability, or genetic information and that these laws apply to “to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.” Litigation of any kind will cause your business productivity to take a hit or even put you out of business. Not only that, but gender discrimination is one of the most common reasons for lawsuits across all industries. Manufacturing and distribution aren’t immune. Here are just a few examples of how gender discrimination hurts business:
- April, 2019: South Carolina Waste Company will pay $32,500 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit in which the company failed to hire a female job applicant because of her gender (Source: EEOC).
- October, 2014: The EEOC sues Vamco Sheet Metals, Inc. for $215,000. Allegedly, Vamco serially fired women workers and treated them unfairly compared to the male workers during a government funded project in 2013 (Source: EEOC).
- June, 2012: H;E Equipment Services pays $125,000 to settle sex discrimination lawsuit. The suit charged H;E with sex discrimination after a woman was denied promotion and fired because of her gender (Source: EEOC).
Gender and sex discrimination are illegal, and they’re also costly. The expense of litigation alone is debilitating for business productivity.
- Increased Employee Satisfaction: When employees feel valued for their work and input, there’s a greater incentive for them to maintain and, hopefully, increase their productivity.
- Better Employee Innovation: The Harvard Business Review finds that “diverse teams can develop more innovative ideas. When people from different contexts work together, their unique perspectives often lead to greater creativity.” In other words, the different perspectives offered by diverse employees lend themselves to more creative problem-solving skills and ideas and ultimately to a successful business with a nurturing workplace.
- Your Business Training Solution: As the heavy equipment manufacturing and distribution industry rolls out more initiatives to train women in construction, it’s become even more critical to provide both gender diversity and leadership training for your employees.