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The Current State of Diversity & Inclusion at U.S. Manufacturers

Nearly 30 years ago, the Hudson Institute’s Workforce 2000 study concluded that in the future, workforce demographics would shift toward more women and minority participants. American companies responded by launching diversity strategies designed to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. But progress and results have been inconsistent. Financial services, consulting, and health services companies often receive top marks on assessments of their diversity strategies and progress toward inclusion. Manufacturers are often conspicuously absent from these lists.

This is not because manufacturers have failed to take up the diversity banner. Two-thirds of surveyed business units say they’ve had a long-term focus on at least one minority group. Nearly all have implemented a diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy designed to recruit, engage, and retain; only 10% report that their efforts are relatively new. But time does not guarantee effectiveness. Only a quarter of business leaders believe that their businesses’ investments have been effective.

This report explores the U.S.-centric D&I strategies implemented by manufacturing companies, including the strategies’ relative maturity.

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