The metal fabrication and manufacturing industry has adjusted in recent years to meet the demands of an evolving global economy, impacted by social, political, economic and technological advancements that effect all aspects of the industry.

In changing times and in a historically male-dominated industry, manufacturing has seen a steady rise in women playing key roles in the industry, shaping the next generation of manufacturing to be more gender diverse, innovative, and rewarding for those who pursue a career path in this compelling field.

Women make up nearly one-third of the manufacturing industry workforce today, from the production and assembly line to the C-suite. But that number has continuously risen and fallen over the last thirty years, bringing a sense of inconsistency to an ever-changing industry. However, there are several ways to ensure the trend of women in manufacturing continues to stay on the rise.

Modern manufacturing offers diverse and rewarding career paths. Encouraging more women to pursue STEM degrees allows for more career opportunities for women in the manufacturing industry, from engineering and design to business and leadership roles.

As technology advances change the way goods are produced, in terms of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it is vital that workers in the manufacturing industry excel in these competitive fields. Encouraging more women to forge career paths in the metal fabrication and manufacturing industry is beneficial to an industry that will see opportunities for innovation skyrocket as technology becomes more and more advanced. A STEM education is the best way for future generations of women to prepare for a career and to succeed in the industry.

Manufacturers can actively attract, retain, and support women in the industry by increasing the visibility of women leaders and mentoring the next generation of women in the industry.

The manufacturing industry must employ creative strategies to build the future pipeline of talent by engaging with younger females. For example:

Female engineers should share career stories with students as it is a very impactful way to inspire and sends a positive message about manufacturing.

Companies should customize strategies for women with varying experience levels, using strategies like aligning recent female graduates with more experienced women in the organization.

Highlight benefits, flexibility, and culture as those are three factors that will attract talented women to seek careers in manufacturing.

Consider how to retain and engage women at career points where work life balance becomes more complex by taking the opportunity to provide support, create alternate pathways, and customize career goals in times when women might need it most.

During FABTECH 2018, women in the industry will take center stage Nov. 7 at the Women of FABTECH Breakfast. This networking breakfast celebrates the importance of women in the manufacturing sector. The breakfast will feature Laura Cox Kaplan, founder and host of the popular “She Said, She Said” podcast and BASF’s Veronica Braker, VP, operations performance materials, North America. Together, they will share their insights, unique perspectives and passion for improving the representation of women in manufacturing and technical roles.

The breakfast will conclude with a tech tour on the show floor, highlighting the latest industry innovations and manufacturing revolutions – a unique opportunity to get hands-on with emerging technology.

FABTECH runs Nov. 6-8 in Atlanta. Visit for more information.