Women saw their wages and employment decline in production and manufacturing, an industry that remained critical during the pandemic yet experienced significant setbacks.
Women lost a disproportionate share of manufacturing jobs in 2020, yet their wages only modestly declined compared to their male counterparts, according to a LiveCareer analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
While women were among the original pioneers in manufacturing, today, they account for less than one in three workers in the sector, with even fewer in leadership positions. But as we recover from the pandemic, some employers are pushing to bring more skilled women into the industry who have a chance at landing positions with lucrative pay and flexible career options.
Better yet, here are several positions that could serve as an entry point into a career path.
4 production and manufacturing jobs women can get now
1. Production worker. This role provides support for production lines and is responsible for a specific part of producing goods for the company. They ensure that production processes are being followed.
Key skills for this role include understanding machine components and being familiar with occupational safety and health guidelines.
2. Assembler. The purpose of this job is to assemble parts and pieces to create a full component. Some duties also include inventorying, following blueprints, and acknowledging assembly instructions, verifying resources and supplies before assembly, and inspecting tools and equipment necessary to perform tasks. Extensive knowledge of machinery, especially troubleshooting and maintenance, are key skills to possess, along with coordination, dexterity, and physical stamina.
3. Machine operator. Machine operators work in many sub-industries ranging from food & beverage, warehousing, and technological production to auto mechanics. Some operators working in industries with more complex work environments may need specialized training and certification to operate certain machinery such as cranes and excavators.
The hours you work as a machine operator can vary and may include overtime, night shifts, and weekend shifts, meaning that as you gain experience in the role, shifts become more flexible.
4. Machinist. These workers create metal works by using various machines and equipment to bring their clients' vision to life. They study the product's blueprints and identify the parts that will need fabrication through tools such as grinders, drills, lathes, and polishers. Machinists are expected to be proficient in the use of the machines, to be precise with their work, and on average, make $41,781 annually.
How to write a production and manufacturing resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
Production engineering requires an analytical approach and great attention to detail, so a functional resume is a way to highlight your key skills and show off ways you would provide assistance even if you don't have direct experience or are applying for your first job.
Here's an example of what a functional resume might look like:
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
The combination resume is an excellent way to show off both relevant skills and a great work history. To really set yourself apart, be sure you mention skills like "testing assemblies and final products" in both the skills section and your work history.
Here's an example of what a combination resume might look like:
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
Chronological resumes really emphasized years of experience and a well rounded knowledge of safety measures and how to flourish in the industry. Make sure to include key details like strong problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and adaptability.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain employment gaps on a production and manufacturing resume
The production industry is used to adapting to shifts in work environments and increased demands due to technological change, so explaining your employment gaps will be no trouble.
Some of the most popular places for manufacturing and production work are Houston and Indianapolis with apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a private manufacturer to entice and train new employees.
That said, being able to explain employment gaps is always important, just in case. When addressing the gaps in your resume be sure to include relevant programs or activities like the following:
- Taking part in shop training at a technical institution;
- Picking up certifications, like the Apple Rubber Academy; or
- Sitting in on any courses in school, like a class on metallic materials.
Find a production and manufacturing job with a flexible schedule
Flexible scheduling in this field is mainly dependent on the level of job duties and experience. Shifts can be long, and schedules vary for entry-level positions, but the more knowledge and experience gained, the easier it will be for you to have control over your work schedule.
This industry is mainly centered around private companies that have their own set of certification and apprenticeship requirements so the best way to find a job that suits both your skill set and shift schedule preferences is to try industry-exclusive job boards like Manufacturing Jobs.com, iHireManufacturing.com, and Manufacturing Crossing.
It is important to find a job that works with your lifestyle, and building a resume that's tailored for jobs currently available is a good starting point. Keep in mind that while it is a very labor-intensive job, the pay is very good, and the industry is technologically advanced, so if you enjoy working with your hands, interpreting data, and building the latest tools, then this is the industry for you.