According to a 2020 report by Meat Business Week, 36% of roles within the meat industry workforce are employed by women, and this figure is growing year on year. It’s clear that the contribution to the industry by female employees can be significant.
What can be done to encourage more women into this rapidly changing industry?
The meat processing industry is evolving when it comes to representing women. More opportunities for women to progress are being created to help them succeed, aspire and achieve while making a valuable contribution to this sector. The meat industry is not one that traditionally appeals to females. Research illustrates that more than 90% of businesswomen who venture into the sector find themselves there unintentionally. They hadn’t made a conscious choice to enter employment in meat processing. However, where women are employed in companies who actively promote gender diversity, the organisation often benefits from higher returns and demonstrates an ability to attract the highest calibre talent – whether male or female. The meat industry is facing incredible challenges so having the best people on board is key.
Meat cutting and processing is an art and many meat processing tasks require agility, precision and memory, these are skills that anyone can possess, regardless of gender. The most important factors include the skillset of the individual, their technique and work ethic.
Changing for the better
One thing is for certain – the stereotypes that exist around the meat processing industry being a male-dominated sector are changing. More women are pursuing careers in this industry. As the industry continues to evolve at a rapid rate, there is a definite need for talent, and this talent can be drawn from a pool of male and female candidates.
Steps are being taken to promote inclusivity and not only encourage women to join the industry but to provide opportunities for progression and promotion. Furthermore, to make employment in this sector more attractive, employment benefits such as flexible working are being offered as well as part-time hours to suit working parents.
How the meat industry must evolve to get more women to join
There are a variety of initiatives that meat processing businesses can use to encourage women to enter the industry. This will include things such as mentoring, networking events, opportunities for development and learning resources to help women thrive in the industry.
There are lots of practical steps that organisations can take to improve equality and opportunities that exist for women. The sector must recognise how it can create a diverse and inclusive workforce that actively encourages all genders to apply for roles and where opportunities are provided for those with the best talent and skills.
Companies are providing more visible role models for women in an aspirational way to attract and retain talent.
The future – how the industry will benefit from more female workers.
If the meat industry is to become more sustainable over the long term, it must take steps to attract and retain more female employees and managers. The focus is now on recruiting the highest calibre candidates with the right skill set who are the best fit for the work that needs to be carried out.
Companies that have a steady stream of women who rise to the top demonstrate greater profitability, higher levels of sustainability and increased levels of agility in a competitive marketplace.
Here at MRMK, we welcome and actively encourage women to join our team. We actively promote inclusion across all areas of our business, and we have recently received significant, long-term investment from Foresight Group who share our commitment to supporting women in the workplace.