30 March, 2020

Manufacturers have a vital role to play in driving diversity, says EEF

29 April, 2015

Manufacturers have a vital role to play in driving diversity, but should not expect a silver bullet. This was the view expressed by Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, at a recent event in London.

He made the remarks as part of his welcome speech at the launch event for EEF and Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s annual Women in Manufacturing report – the third annual assessment of female boardroom representation in the sector and the further efforts required to attract and retain talented women.

The report shows that women now account for 23 per cent of all board seats in FTSE 100 manufacturers – up from 19 per cent in 2013 and 21 per cent last year. At the same time, 25 per cent of new board appointments in FTSE 100 manufacturers are now going to women – up from 19 per cent last year. The findings follow Lord Davies’ latest report showing that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards has almost doubled within the past four years.


In his speech, Terry Scuoler makes it clear that while progress has been good, there is still a way to go: “With manufacturers accounting for a quarter of FTSE 100 companies it is clear that we have a vital role to play in driving diversity. We are heading in the right direction, but still have a way to go. Women continue to be under-represented at every level, including apprentice and graduate-entry level where our sector seeks its future stars.”

Multi-stranded approach

Scuoler continued: “The message from our female role models across this series of reports is that we have to increase diversity through encouragement and development. There isn’t a silver bullet – instead there has to be a multi-stranded approach that ensures more women join our industry, more support is given to those who do and more effort made to identify and encourage those with the ability and desire to reach the top.”

He also pointed to the persistent image problem faced by engineering and manufacturing: “Increasingly, the message I am hearing from across the board is that our industry must overhaul its image and let people know what modern manufacturing and engineering is really about. Too often people still think of our sector as it may have looked decades or even a century ago.

Harmful perception

“This perception is harmful and at odds with the reality of modern-day manufacturing. We are dynamic. We are creative. We are innovative and we are behind some of the most interesting, cutting-edge developments going on not just in the UK, but globally too.”

Also speaking at the event was Kate Bellingham, ex-presenter of Tomorrow’s World and a keen promoter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.eef.org.uk/resources-and-knowledge/research-and-intelligence/industry-reports/women-in-manufacturing-2015

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