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Women in manufacturing critical to Canada, Manitoba’s competitiveness

Published by CME Manitoba on March 08, 2017

For Immediate Release – March 8, 2017

WINNIPEG – This International Women’s Day, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is launching a Women in Manufacturing Working Group to support, promote and inspire women to pursue careers in manufacturing to grow the domestic skilled labour pool in Canada, that is so desperately needed.

"Our Women in Manufacturing Working Group stems from our Industrie 2030 initiative aimed at doubling manufacturing output by 2030,” noted CME President & CEO Dennis Darby. “Skills and labour shortages rank as the single biggest concern facing Canadian manufacturers today. Roughly 40 per cent of businesses face labour and skills shortages today. Five years from now, close to 60 per cent anticipate such shortages. To build a stronger skilled workforce in Canada, we must engage youth and women in manufacturing.”

In Manitoba, the share of manufacturing jobs held by women remains relatively stagnant. Only 5.8 per cent of employed women in the province have a job in manufacturing compared to 16 per cent of all men.

“It’s time to stop accepting women’s role in history of pursuing careers that are ‘traditionally feminine,’” stated Rhonda Barnet, Chair of CME’s National Board of Directors and VP Finance at Steelworks Design. “We need to develop a national strategy that fosters women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”

“CME’s Women in Manufacturing group will address the challenges facing women in the industry. In Manitoba, only 26 per cent of manufacturing jobs are held by women. But 96 per cent of our industry jobs are full-time. These are good jobs that pay 16 per cent better than the Manitoba average,” said CME Manitoba’s Communications & Marketing Manager, Jill Knaggs. “Manufacturing jobs provide women with the wages and benefits they need to support their families, contribute to the economy and use critical skills in the STEM fields. Women’s participation in the workforce, rising since the 1950s has stagnated over the last decade. Manufacturing, on the other hand, is facing a skills and labour shortage. Creating opportunities for women to succeed in the manufacturing industry is a win, win.”  

“We also need to change the perception of manufacturing,” added Darby. “Many Canadians may still believe that a job in manufacturing is one filled with monotonous assembly-line tasks, or one where the work environment is dark, dirty and dangerous. These lingering perspectives bear little resemblance to modern-day innovative and technologically-advanced manufacturing operations. They do, however, deter women from pursuing careers in manufacturing-related fields. We want to change that perspective, and we are committed to work with government at all levels to advance women in manufacturing.” 

CME’s Women in Manufacturing Working Group, driven by leading manufacturers from across Canada, held their inaugural meeting in Toronto on March 7 with senior government leaders with education portfolios, to discuss the highly skilled workforce. 

About CME Manitoba
A division of Canada’s oldest and largest national trade and industry association, CME Manitoba works with manufacturers to help them grow with support and resources in the areas of Leadership & Executive Support, LEAN & Productivity, Advanced Manufacturing & Innovation, Trade & Business Development, Human Resources & Skills Development, Advocacy & Intelligence, Future Workforce, Safety and Networking.


For more information:

Jill Knaggs, Communications & Marketing Manager, CME Manitoba
Phone: 204.612.3372 ?

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