Diversity for Additive Manufacturing Report Illuminates Gender Statistics in 3D Printing Industry

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Over the past year, 3DPrint.com has worked hard to showcase the many talented women in the 3D printing industry through our Spotlight on Women series. The series was started in order to highlight the contributions that women make to an industry that still greatly skews in a male direction. While the Spotlight on Women series was only one part of the news that we cover here, another organization is entirely devoted to promoting and supporting women in 3D printing – the aptly named Women in 3D Printing, founded by Sculpteo USA General Manager Nora Touré.

Women in 3D Printing works hard to highlight the individual women who make up the 3D printing industry, taking a hard look at gender distribution and perceptions, and today has released its first-ever quarterly Diversity for Additive Manufacturing report. The report is written by 3DPrint.com Editor-in-Chief Sarah Goehrke, outside her scope of work with this site, supported by and produced by Women in 3D Printing. It’s a combination of objective data about the state of the industry when it comes to diversity as well as subjective insights from women in the industry.

“Nora’s work with Women in 3D Printing has inspired me for some time; when she asked me to write this report, it was an honor,” says Goehrke. “Working on the report and reading the statistics as well as the personal experiences from interviews provided a unique perspective on how important visibility and representation truly are. I look forward to working with more resources for future reports to provide fuller looks with each subsequent quarter. We welcome feedback in improving the DfAM report as an industry resource.”

Information was gathered from on-the-ground reporting, as well as public figures disclosed by companies regarding their employment figures and breakdowns, and data collected from reports from Alexander Daniels Global, LinkedIn, Sculpteo and the Wohlers Report.

Overall, the 3D printing industry still skews heavily male. Alexander Daniels Global, when looking at R&D and engineering, sales, service, applications and consulting, marketing and software disciplines across the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, found that 87% of employees are male, while only 13% are female. The highest concentration of women working in the field is in marketing. One major 3D printing company has only two women represented out of 11 reported directors and senior management, while another reports zero women out of five executive officers.

The report isn’t a grim one, though, and the subjective experiences reported by the women interviewed show that there is a wealth of female talent in the industry, talent that is determined to succeed despite any challenges thrown in its path. STEM educational initiatives, many of them designed to attract girls, are picking up worldwide. A recent study from Northwestern University shows that more young people than ever before are choosing to draw female figures when asked to “draw a scientist.”

As the Diversity for Additive Manufacturing report will be a continuing one, we will be able to closely watch any changes happening in the 3D printing industry in regards to balancing out some of the current disparity between men and women in the field. This first report is comprehensive, detailed, and extremely interesting to read whether you’re male or female. You can request a free copy of the 19-page report here.

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