Manufacturers have a vital role to play in driving diversity, but there isn't a silver bullet

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Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, will tonight tell an audience in London that manufacturers have a vital role to play in driving diversity, but not to expect a silver bullet.

He will be making 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% of all board seats in FTSE 100 manufacturers – up from 19% in 2013 and 21% last year. At the same time, 25% of new board appointments in FTSE 100 manufacturers are now going to women – up from 19% last year. The findings follow Lord Davies’ latest report showing that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards has almost doubled in the last 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.

“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 points 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.

“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 will be Kate Bellingham, ex-presenter of Tomorrow’s World and a passionate promoter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  

The full report can be downloaded here.


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