In a recent article on 3DPrint.com, we shared how the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has exploded over the last 5 years and scraped the surface of how additive manufacturing talent and employers feel about its place in the industry.

In our 2022 edition of the AM Salary Survey Report, we shone a spotlight on the subject, dedicating a whole chapter to the findings in the data collected from our surveys. There we started to uncover a gap in the perceptions of DEI in the AM workplace, between that of the Employer and that of the Talent.

With expert contribution to the report from Sarah Goehrke, of Nexa3D and Women in 3D Printing, we decided it was high time to sit down for a one on one discussion between Sarah and Sophie, who wrote and curated this year’s edition of the report, to deep dive into what is going on in the industry with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The place of DEI in the AM industry

The startling truth is that there is a disparity in the perceptions of Employers and Talent on the topic of DEI in the workplace – and arguably it’s understandable why. The priority for businesses is survival, generating income, profit and growth; but the beauty of working in today’s workplace is that we are living a moment of history, a moment where the shift in perceptions that is happening around us is tangible.

We’ve seen businesses adopting hybrid or remote solutions for their employees, we’ve seen organizations making attempts to create a more representational workforce, and with a workforce shouting about the environments and cultures they want to work within, its time to notice what the modern day workplace looks like.

The Difference in Perception

Through the salary survey, conducted in Q4 of 2021, we discovered a certain level of ambivalence toward DEI practices in the workplace from our Employer respondents. That is, 46% of Employer respondents said that it was neither of high nor low priority, while 29% said that they didn’t have any procedures in place.

Furthermore, of those who said that they did have procedures in place, only 8% of them felt that the procedures had been ‘very successfully’ implemented, with a further 77% of respondents saying that the implementation of DEI procedures in the workplace were neither ‘successful’ nor ‘ unsuccessful’.

In contrast, 51% of the professional/talent respondents claimed that it was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for them to work for a company that supports DEI; meanwhile, only 20% of those same respondents felt satisfied with the way their employer is approaching DEI.

In fact, from looking at the infographic below, we can see even more data on the DEI landscape in the additive manufacturing industry – all of which was discussed in our latest webinar in collaboration with Sarah Goehrke:

The merits and challenges of dei

The underlying message in the discussion with Sarah, was the consensus that DEI practices directly contribute to the productivity and profit of a business. In our Diverse Hiring Best Practice Guide we dive a little bit deeper into how promoting an inclusive workplace can actually increase business and team performance – something which was also shared by Sarah in the webinar.

Quoting statistics from Deloitte, Sophie and Sarah showed the ways in which it was worthwhile for companies to invest in building a DEI sensitive workplace.

In fact, in the 2022 Salary Survey conducted by ADG, we found that Employers really did recognize some of the benefits of promoting a diverse workforce. Some of the reasons that they gave for implementing DEI practices into their businesses included:

  • (46%) New Ideas and Approaches
  • (39%) A More Representational Workforce
  • (38%) Increased Cultural Awareness
  • (15%) Increased Diversity in Leadership
  • (14%) Increased Productivity and Profits

This coupled with findings published in the Bersin by Deloitte Talent Management report by Deloitte and Josh Bersin – where the findings show that businesses can even double their cash flow per employee by creating an inclusive environment – we can start to see that promoting a DEI healthy environment at work is directly linked to performance and profit within a team.

This isn’t to say that making changes and implementing new strategies and procedures in a workplace doesn’t come without its challenges – ‘No-one said it was ever going to be easy’. If you would like to find out more about some of the HR challenges involved with the adoption and implementation of DEI in the workplace, you can download the 2022 AM Salary Survey report for free and take a look at the Spotlight section on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Sarah and Sophie also discussed various tips for improving diverse hiring strategies and how you can start building a more inclusive work environment, which you can read more about here.

To check out the full webinar recording, you can head to our dedicated page on Addressing the Gap in DEI in the AM Workplace.

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