4th October. Posted in Blog.

It’s a man’s world…or at least it used to be in the packaging industry.

Traditionally, packaging was thought of as a male-dominated industry. However, the world of packaging is gaining a more diverse presence although change seems slow.

Across all industries in the UK workforce, women make up 35% of junior level staff, 25% of mid-level staff, 15% of senior-level staff, and a tiny 10% of CEO-level staff.

Compare this to the fact that 52% of the UK population is made up of women and the workplace gender issue becomes more apparent.

So why the gap?

The absence of female role models, lack of support, guidance and confidence could all be factors in the under-representation of women in the industry, especially as women move further up the career ladder.

However, a recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the creation of 340,000 new businesses by women would support 425,000 additional jobs and unlock a potential £10.1 billion boost to the UK economy.

A willingness to embracing new technology and social media is not only making the life of working women easier (thanks to increased flexible working) but is also opening their eyes to new opportunities. The Internet and social media platforms are allowing women to see beyond their regular, daily lives and create connections with inspirational female role models around the globe. This is not only in business, but in sport, the arts, education, science and beyond.

Here at Parkside, women are vital to our business. Collaboration between our male and female colleagues generates new and interesting ways of working, creative insights and challenges us to think differently. These are all essential for an innovative, forward-thinking company such as Parkside.

We pride ourselves on the fact that in many of our departments, the number of women is often equal to – and sometimes even outweighs – the number of men. This is a balance that definitely breaks the traditional industry mould.

At the present time, Parkside’s sales department is made up of 33% women, customer service 100%, new product development 60%, human resources 100%, finance 67%, technical 20% and personal assistants 100%.  Yes women are still to found in the more conventional roles – HR, customer service and so forth but we’re proud of our record in technical and sales roles.

Parkside head of sales, Paula Birch, has recently been promoted to the role of sales director, a move that will support the company’s growth into new markets. Paula is the perfect illustration of how Parkside values the expertise of women in its business. Paula has been with the company for several years progressing through several roles in to her current Board position. For more information, see the recent news release ‘Birch Appointment to Sales Director Supports Parkside Growth’.

Fortunately, Parkside are not alone. Other positive role models are moving away from traditional, male-dominated industry standards and going against the grain; Belmont packaging, corrugated packaging specialists, being a prime example. Managing director Kate Hulley is at the helm and setting the example. The business described as ‘female-led, fresh and energetic’ is well and truly disproving any doubt about the success of women within the industry.

Viscose Closures and Rajapack are other great examples of those excelling in facilitating gender equality in the workplace.

For businesses that feel they may be falling short in the gender-diversity stakes – help is at hand! UK organisation, Women in Packaging UK, was set up in 2015 to support female employees of the print and packaging industries. It promotes opportunities for the employees in the industry by providing education, development and networking opportunities. For more information on Women in Packaging click here.

The packaging industry is changing. It is increasingly subject to the demands of the fashion, technology and science sectors and the trend for environmentally friendly practices. To stay ahead of the game, it’s essential for both genders to contribute.