I heard this report on the way to the airport this morning and this it deserves a mention: the women are coming to fill vacant manufacturing jobs! Maybe even the oil and gas fields?
So, what has traditionally been a male-dominated employer space may shift a bit toward attracting the female population.
What does this mean for you? Well, lots of things, but I focus on HR issues, so we’ll stick to that aspect of the implications.
Make sure your policies are up-to-date and as female-friendly as possible. Do you have PTO or sick/vacation plans (young/healthy prefer PTO but once kids or illness is in the picture, employees prefer separate sick/vacation policies)? How about your maternity policies and coverage? How do you compare to your competitors on this front. It is a war for talent out there!
Unfortunately, this also means that you probably need to beef up your sexual harassment policies and training. I’ve been in plants before, and women tend to put up with a lot of off-color remarks. However, I am also a bit older and used to living in that environment – younger women may not be so tolerant. Get ahead of any issues on this front.
What should happen if a field or plant worker becomes pregnant? What will you do with her job – keep her on it or move her to a desk role? What are the risks/implications of each? Please don;t consider termination! That will not end well…
Do you have a locker area for women? Lactation rooms close to your work sites? Is your safety gear available in female sizes?
You can see how this relatively modest shift can quickly change the dynamics of your work environment, and it is probably long overdue. Wasn’t Rosie the Riveter over 70 years ago?