Diversity & Inclusion: Food & Beverage Manufacturing's Future

The ability to attract a diverse range of skilled employees by gender, race, disability, age, and sexual orientation is becoming critical as the recruitment market becomes ever tighter. Employers must look to the broadest possible candidate pool to fill key roles.

Women earned 53% of all U.S. STEM college degrees in 2018, meaning they represent a valuable source of untapped talent.

While just 15% of engineers are women, that record is even worse among some subsets, such as mechanical engineers, who represent just 8.7% of the total.32 According to the Pew Research Center,33 only 5% of engineers or architects are Black. When it comes to the STEM workforce as a whole, just 8% are Latino, while Asians account for 13% of those employed in STEM occupations.

Marginalized groups in the manufacturing sector offer a largely untapped source of talent. Not only do companies need to attract more diverse candidates for key roles, but they also need to create an environment and career structure that helps them to thrive. Programs such as reverse mentoring, where senior managers are mentored by diverse employees, can help, as can creating a safe space where individuals can be heard.

Such programs can empower diverse talent and enable everyone to reach their full potential. Reflecting this, Progressive is involved in various diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives, like the STEM Equity Coalition in Staffing and Recruitment.34 This is a partnership of like-minded organizations working to make the STEM sector more diverse and inclusive as a career path, particularly for African Americans and Latinos, as well as first-generation college graduates. The coalition provides hands-on support for these candidates – everything from mock interviews to job shadowing sessions, and mentoring opportunities to empowerment workshops.

Progressive is involved in the Breaking the Glass initiative, which aims to bridge the gap between underrepresented identities in STEM and address gender disparity in leadership.37  

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About Progressive Recruitment

Progressive supports businesses across the power and utilities, renewable energy, manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors by providing comprehensive staffing solutions that add value. We specialize in talent across engineering, construction, and project management. We secured 1,100 placements across contract and permanent hires in 2021. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Progressive has grown market share and generated over $75m in revenue in 2021.

Progressive is part of Specialist Staffing Group, the only global pure-play STEM specialist recruitment company. For seven years in a row, Progressive has made the Staffing Industry Analysts' (SIA) list of the largest engineering staffing firms in the U.S. - ranking number 13 in the most recently published list.