Women in Manufacturing: Ceasing the gap by Mr. Rajiv Gusain, HR Head of AkshOptifibre Ltd.


According to a survey, Jobs in manufacturing have greatly changed with the introduction of automation and other advancements. Despite these developments, women still represent less than 30 percent of the manufacturing workforce. The lack of talent in manufacturing is probably one of the most talked about issues in the industry. Deloitte study estimated upward of two million manufacturing jobs that may go unfilled over the next decade. For an industry that is desperately trying to fill that talent gap, one might see increasing the number of women in manufacturing as a viable solution.

Big Organisations like Tata Steel is targeting to have 20% women in its workforce by 2020 as gender diversity ensures availability of different mindsets to deal with challenges. Getting more women into the manufacturing workforce will take an enthusiastic and tailored approach to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the industry.

To enhance the skills of women, India has recently signed an MOU with Japan of cooperation for a technical intern training programme under which three lakh technical interns will be sent to Japan for on-the-job training for three-to-five years. The two nations had earlier, under the manufacturing skill transfer promotion programme, agreed to set up Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIM) and Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in Indian engineering colleges. The programme will train workers in the Japanese style of manufacturing.

What are the initiatives being taken by the manufacturing companies to closing the gender gap?

Manufacturing industry has always been at lower stage in women employment and the reasons behind the gender gap are physical work and work culture. In the process of filling the gender gap, it is important to identify all small issues faced by women through feedback or survey. It is essential to create a comfortable culture and follow right regime before hiring females especially in our industry. This ensures to cover gender diversity problem and bring stability in female hiring. Hence, we aim to increase 10% women workforce by 2020.

How this can be fulfilled? Is that only lack of qualification or many other factors are also responsible for that?

The organization should make some HR policy changes to attract and convince women. It’s essential to create a comfortable environment for workforce to ensure gender equality and growth together. The qualification has never been a barrier in female hiring; instead females are out riding males in different academic fields.

What are the major factors for the shortage of women talent in the manufacturing industry?

The eagerness of manufacturing industry to hire women is needed to be high. Our industry follows flexible work timings, coping with different challenges and issues like family support, safety, wages, facility etc which leads the main factors for the shortage of women talent.

In which sector seen the major gap and why?

Apart from manufacturing sector, majorly heavy machinery and some OEM (Automobile) are facing the same problem due to similar working process and culture.

Which sectors have maximum opportunities?

Women have highest share of employment in Retail , Education , IT , Marketing and SME. The reason to have maximum opportunities is to follow strong HR policies and smooth work environment.

“Gender Diversity is high on India Inc” How it is imperative for an organization?

Currently, the ratio of working women in our industry is around 8-10% whereas it’s expected 30% in next 2-3 years. The major factors are culture, reservations of min set, facility etc. It means if India really needs to growth at this stage, industry should work hard to ensure that women are motivated to work and contribute towards GDP with men. It’s important to understand that women empowerment and development both will create better family, culture and uplifting the society.

How much talent growth do you see by 2020 in the industry?

The industry is pacing up the level to hire more talents as it’s expected to grow around 5% to 8% every year.

In the recent times we have seen many mobile manufacturing plants are giving preferences to woman workforce, what are the reasons behind this?

I believe that manufacturing plants have less physical work and women feel safe when they work in the industry with less labor, good environment and transportation facility.