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Diverse workplaces increase creativity

Diversity brings in new ideas and perspectives that build on the foundations of Manufacturing innovation networks. Subsequently, it brings in diverse expertise to shape the future of digital manufacturing and add value to these technologies. Automation and digitisation will produce high value products with lower associated costs, increase business revenue and company productivity. Merging diverse ideas into the design and development stages of upcoming technologies builds a stronger and more profitable inclusive design, whilst also fueling more interaction and collaboration between employers and employees.

Imagine if there was one thing you could change that would increase the likelihood of better business outcomes by 800%, your propensity for innovation and agility by 600%, high performance by 300% and double your chances of exceeding financial targets. You’d want to make sure you were in on the action. This one thing is a diverse and inclusive culture. The evidence for diversity in the workplace is overwhelming.

In terms of workforce diversity, manufacturing is perhaps almost passable at a surface level: 26% of the workforce are female and 13% of the workforce are from ethnic minority groups. Ethnicity varies across sectors with only three of the manufacturing sectors having better than the whole workforce average ethnic diversity. Digging a little deeper into 2020 Labour Force Survey data, it becomes apparent that representation across roles isn’t equally spread.

Shaping the future

Diverse teams in an organisation can be positioned to unlock innovation that will drive market growth and higher return on equity and investment.

A recent “Inspiring Women in Manufacturing” Survey of 80 women in manufacturing, undertaken by KTN in partnership with The Manufacturer, found that 57.5% of them felt that visible diversity within the sector would lead to a more diverse workforce.

14% of women are represented within engineering graduates and 8.2% represent those entering STEM apprenticeships. This brings the call to get role models from different genders, ethnicities and backgrounds, and transparency about the variety of roles, an array of excellent people and a mixture of the benefits manufacturing can bring (not only to the economy, environment and state-of-the-art but also to society) is what will inspire a diverse next generation.

Digital technology and automation are said to drive innovation and linear growth within the economy with immediate effect after implementation, but finding the right people to work behind the scenes with these technologies and machines is what will truly spike the market growth, putting the UK on top.

“Our unity is our strength, and our diversity is our power. We reject the myth of “us” vs “them”. We are in this together.”

Kamala Harris - Vice President of the United States

Giving everyone a voice

It is equally important in an organisation to consider personal diversity (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity) and professional diversity (e.g., degree obtained / course studied, experience, past work done) with the same priority. Research into minority groups shows the challenges faced when speaking out, challenges that include confidence and social backlash, or even being misrepresented. Providing a safe environment and opportunities to encourage diversity and strengthen these views, are the active steps that need to be taken to raise awareness. KTN and Made Smarter UK want to engage and encourage diverse communities, to gain the understanding of the support needed to strive for better.

We call upon a diverse and virtual community of people that wish to share their expertise and experience with others within KTN events. People that wish to help us push the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) agenda forward, not only because they are different, but because of all the hard work they’ve put in and the technical and business expertise they’ve accumulated, with the added bonus of being from a diverse background. Help us raise the voices of diverse underrepresented groups to drive forward positive change.

Help us build a platform to share these ideas and thinking by filling out our Inspiring Diversity in Manufacturing Speaker List and we will be in touch with you if we are hosting an event that we would like you to present at and we think the attendees would be interested in hearing about your business and previous experience.

Inspiring Diversity in Manufacturing Speaker List

Sign up here to join the Inspiring Diversity in Manufacturing Speaker List.

Share our speaker form with people you’d love to hear more from and volunteer yourself as someone who’s willing to be heard. Throw your hat in the ring and let us all benefit from your ideas and thinking!

Get in touch

For more information or to find a speaker for your upcoming event, email the KTN Manufacturing team.

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”

Malcolm Forbes - American entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes magazine

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