Opinion

More women in shop-floor

Sreeram Srinivasan | Updated on February 24, 2021

The electronics sector can show the way

Electronics units have always focussed on empowering women. With the government giving a big push to ‘Make in India’, new opportunities are emerging across manufacturing sectors. The Covid pandemic has induced reverse migration of workers, forcing some manufacturers to rethink their hiring strategy.

According to a recent report, the country’s electronics manufacturing sector has registered a 23 per cent cumulative annual growth rate over the past five years. However, the industry is currently facing a skillset gap as a chunk of the talented women workforce remains untapped.

More women workforce representation, participation, and involvement are what the electronics manufacturing industry needs — to innovate, improve production capabilities and quality. Many industry leaders believe recruiting and retaining female talent in assembly, management, and leadership roles can reap big rewards. Besides delivering a strong work ethic and long-term company loyalty, an all-women production floor offers another distinct advantage — superior manual dexterity necessary for high-precision electronics assembly.

Empowering the female workforce with the tools and training will help manufacturers to unleash their full potential. It’s also equally important to create a safe working environment where their unique strengths can thrive. Therefore, right and fair pay, health benefits, and flexibility are key.

Critical native skills

Making effective use of Critical Native Skills is poised to give the electronics industry a big boost for talent. For instance, critical operations like Scope Soldering require the person to solder the components under 10x magnification. The challenge is not just about soldering under a magnifier but focus and precise hand-eye coordination, a trait that seems natural among women.

There are also other operations that require the handling of minute components (size up to 0.5mm). Women seem to possess dexterity that can be effectively tapped to provide them better opportunities.

It is important for organisations to elevate women in every transition period. These women are leading the way through their work in overcoming some of the greatest challenges like working at lower-level jobs, getting low wage/earnings with less bargaining power in the sector compared to their male counterparts, family and motherhood, fewer leadership opportunities, etc. Research says that a median salary for women is roughly 22 per cent lower than that for men.

Offering growth irrespective of gender and upskilling opportunities will inspire more women to join the manufacturing workforce. Employers can attract and retain employees by mentoring the career-oriented female employees and engaging them by assigning them to project teams and holding them accountable for their assignments, thereby giving them a chance to perform and grow.

Manufacturing industries are also striving hard to attract and retain more women workforce by supporting them with adequate flexibility and benefits. These efforts by some employers are leading to a more productive and gender-balanced team.

Technology and globalisation have transformed job opportunities in manufacturing industries to a highly skilled profession. Electronic manufacturers are likely taking a different approach in recruiting, retaining, and helping women advance fast track in the workplace.

Employers feel women workforce are generally more loyal, focused better at following complex instructions, multi-tasking, and their superior manual dexterity as a necessity for high-precision electronics assembly.

Bolstering the change in the mindset of many electronic manufacturers, the women workforce norms and policies can play a crucial role in improving perception outside the industry.

It’s time to unlock the potential of the women workforce in the electronics manufacturing industry, by encouraging more female students to pursue their career in this sector and helping to onboard the next generation women workforce and groom them for future leadership.

The writer is CEO, Syrma Technology

Published on February 24, 2021

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