At least every other year, we have reviewed the progress (or lack) of diversity in our industry. While our industry continues to be male dominated, NAED sold out its first NAED Women in Industry Forum last summer. With the pandemic and all conferences either cancelled or moved to an online format, we looked to our database for some information.
We have over 117,000 industry names in our database; across electrical distribution, power distribution manufacturing, wire and cable manufacturing and lighting design and manufacturing. Of the 117K names, we took a random sample of roughly 29,900 individuals. From this sample, only 20.6% were women. Here’s a breakdown of the sample size by gender and title:
Of the women in a VP-level position, 30% are VP of Human Resources, 23.4% are VP Sales, 12.5% VP Marketing; and the remaining 34.1% are across all other positions such as customer service, marketing (6.9%), operations, engineering, product development, etc. For C-suite level, of the 103 women, 40% are CEO, 36.9% are CFO and 13.6% are COO; yet women only represented 12.5% of C-level positions across all departments.
From the VP level category, the only department where men and women were equally represented was Customer Service; and women dominated the Human Resource responsibility, where 67.7% were VP of HR. Though, for VP Marketing, at least 46% were women. All other departments were dominated by men like Operations and Engineering. Of the 246 VP of Operations, only 10.6% were women. And women represented 3.5% of VP Engineering.
Add in race to each gender category and the numbers are more abysmal. In all? We have plenty of room for improvement.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and its dramatic affect to parents, especially families with young children, we may not see an increase in women involvement in our industry (at least in the next year or so). As shown in a Washington Post article by Alicia Sasser Modestino, the increased dependency put on working parents during work hours may have an adverse effect on a mother’s career1.
Dependent upon state and local restrictions and influences, there are many schools that have continued the 2020-21 school year with an online learning format. Last school year has already forced some working parents to decrease their available working hours or removed them from the workforce all together. And with this upcoming school year online, where does this leave working parents? As Modestino pointed out, women have historically taken on the ‘caretaker role’ and may have to bear the childcare responsibility if their child(ren) continue with online learning. This is especially worse for those working in a service or any position where work cannot be completed remotely, removing themselves from the workforce.
The year of uncertainty continues and widens its impact. Will it stunt women’s involvement in the Electrical Industry in the upcoming years?