Aluminium is one of the world's most versatile and widely used metals. From beverage cans to airplanes, aluminium has many applications, and its demand continues to grow.
It is not a secret that with the boom of renewable energies and more sustainable manufacturing practices, the aluminium industry is critical to the global economy.
Even though the future of the aluminium industry looks promising, it will require ingenuity, innovation, creativity, assertiveness and one of the essential success factors: diversity. Many industries have twitched their policies towards a more inclusive work environment; however, women are still underrepresented in the sector, and their participation is often limited.
In this blog, we will discuss the importance of women's participation in the aluminium industry.
You can't fix what you can't see
Research shows that unconscious biases influence people's thoughts and behaviors, even if apparent biases are waning. Unconscious bias is a powerful obstacle because it often remains unnoticed and, therefore, unchallenged.
While writing this article, we found some key figures that would help to give you a bit of a context of the magnitude of the underrepresentation of women in the industry:
- Women make up only 13.5% of the engineering workforce in Canada, according to a report by Engineers Canada.
- In the manufacturing sector, women represent only 28.5% of the workforce, according to a 2021 report by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association (CME).
- In research and development (R&D) positions in Canada, women accounted for only 30% of the workforce in 2019, according to the Government of Canada's Advisory Council on Economic Growth report.
- The same report found that women are underrepresented in R&D positions across all sectors, including manufacturing.
There are ongoing efforts to increase the number of women in these fields, including initiatives aimed at encouraging girls to enter and advance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers, in addition to efforts to address systemic biases and barriers that may prevent women from entering and advancing.
The importance of diversity in the workplace
Like any other industry, the aluminium industry needs diversity in the workplace to promote creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. Women bring a different perspective and approach to the table, and their participation can lead to a more inclusive work culture. Studies have shown that a diverse workforce leads to better decision-making, higher productivity, and improved profitability.
Furthermore, diversity and inclusion are essential for business outcomes and the right thing to do. By embracing diversity, manufacturing companies can create a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture where all employees feel valued and respected and have equal opportunities for growth and development. This can attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds, leading to a more skilled and engaged workforce.
Increased innovation and competitiveness
The aluminium industry is evolving, and innovation is needed to stay competitive. Women can play a critical role in increasing innovation in the manufacturing industry by bringing new perspectives, ideas, and approaches.
By increasing the representation of women in the aluminium industry, companies can tap into a larger talent pool in a world where companies are facing a shortage of qualified employees. In addition, women have unique insights and experiences that can be leveraged to drive innovation in the aluminium industry, including in areas such as product design, process improvement, and technology development.
Economic empowerment of women
The aluminium industry can be a significant source of economic empowerment for women. Women can be employed in various roles, such as engineering, management, production, and research. By providing equal opportunities for women, the aluminium industry can contribute to gender equality and promote economic empowerment.
To overcome women's barriers and challenges in entering and advancing in the industry, mentorship and networking programs, flexible work arrangements, and targeted recruitment strategies must be implemented.
Ultimately, increasing the participation of women in the aluminium industry can lead to greater innovation, productivity, and competitiveness while also advancing gender equity in the workplace.
At SBB, we value the diversity of experiences and perspectives that make our company rich and vibrant. So, for all the reasons above, we work actively to create an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of their cultural background or gender.