Tue. Jan 28th, 2020

The weight of women in the metal sector stagnates in 18% of employment

Women have increased their presence in the labor market in the last ten years, but there are masculinized sectors such as metal in which it has stagnated in 18% of sectoral employment, a situation that leads this industry to study how to also attract the female talent

Women engaged in traditional activities of the iron and steel industry are 168,300 and currently represent 18.4% of the total workforce, a rate that has hardly changed in the last decade (18.8%). according to the data of the Active Population Survey (EPA).

The sector as a whole employs 914,000 people in these metallurgical manufacturing activities, a figure that amounts to 1.6 million people if the jobs generated in the repair, assembly, maintenance and trade of metal products and machinery are also taken into account.

This female presence in the metallurgical sector contrasts with that recorded as a whole in the labor market, where women occupy 45.5% of jobs, a rate that has improved 2 points in ten years.

In fact, women have experienced a 7.8% increase in employment over the past decade, compared to 1.1% of men.

The metal industry has set itself the objective of attracting more women and young people to the STEM sector (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), for which it demands the introduction of basic programming as a subject in all classrooms and integrating digital learning into All curricula.

This is included in the proposals made by the European metal sector, with which, he assures, will increase female employment in the technology industry thus reducing the wage gap.

"Years ago, the professions of the iron and steel industry required a lot of physical effort," explains the employer of the Confemetal sector, since they had to move and work heavy pieces based on their own strength.

"Before, a tinker took a flat plate and, based on blows, turned it into a curve. Now a machine does it, to which a person gives the order by pressing a button, because these works are mechanized, robotic and computerized," according to Confemetal.

"Such physical works have practically disappeared, but not the image, and that produces a certain rejection among women," he says.

The image of the worker of this industry (tinker, welder, turner and milling machine) was that of a worker dressed in a dirty blue jumpsuit, but nowadays it is that of people who could be dressed in an impolute white shirt, explains the employer This year is 40 years old.

The jobs of the metal industry "are excellently paid" (with an entry salary exceeding 1,500 euros), the level of unemployment is "marginal" and employment is "solid", given that the employer provides training, for what tries to keep the talent, assures.

With the approval of the Law of Equality in 2007 and later this year with that of Labor Equality, companies with more than 50 workers are obliged to elaborate and implement equality plans with which to achieve equal opportunities and avoid labor discrimination between men and women.

Already in 2018 there were several collective agreements of companies in the metal sector that contained express declarations of a general nature "in favor of greater hiring of women" in the production centers and "prohibiting" their discrimination in access to positions, promotion or training , as well as in remuneration.

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