MANUFACTURERS TAKING THE LEAD ON DIVERSITY 

A new survey by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) and Close Brothers Asset Finance has found manufacturing and engineering firms in the UK are ahead of the curve in embracing diversity in the workplace. James Selka DL, CEO, Manufacturing Technologies Association 

There have been widespread concerns that manufacturing was lagging the rest of industry when it came to recognising diversity and promoting the benefits of an inclusive workforce. There were fears this was harming the sector’s prospects and excluding potential employees, at a time when skills are in short supply. 

The new survey dismisses this theory and shows that manufacturing and engineering companies are among the most progressive in the UK when it comes to diversity. 

When asked whether they believed that having a diverse workforce – one inclusive of age, faith, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability – was beneficial to a business’s financial performance, 77.4% of manufacturing and engineering firms agreed it did. This was higher than the average score (71.3%) of those questioned. 

A higher proportion (86.7%) of manufacturing and engineering companies said they did understand what diversity means on a practical level than the average sample score of 81.7%. When asked if their business was actively working to make its workforce more diverse, 81.9% of manufacturing and engineering companies said yes (average: 71.6%). 

When asked whether having a more diverse workforce made a business more attractive to potential employees, 71.9% of manufacturing and engineering companies agreed it did (average: 63.9%). 

In spite of the enlightened attitude, the survey shows the sector still has its work cut out attracting new recruits. 

The survey responses paint the manufacturing and engineering sector in a very positive light, suggesting companies are adopting enlightened attitudes towards diversity and recruitment. 

Evidence suggests that full inclusivity brings economic benefits to a business, boosting the morale of workers, reducing staff turnover and improving productivity. 

As the sector looks to reflect society more generally, it is important that no one is ever excluded from the workplace due to age, faith, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or physical ability.