Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD), a portfolio company of Arcline Investment Management, is establishing a committee to develop and deploy a diversity roadmap that will increase the presence and inclusion of women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in every tier of the defense contractor's workforce. Over the next six months, a committee that will include a cross-functional team of women, minorities, and other company representatives will drive the development of strategies and actions the defense contractor will take to strengthen its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices.
A recent ESG report issued by Fairbanks Morse Defense demonstrates that the defense contractor is pacing slightly above the industry's average for diversity within its leadership ranks. The turnkey service provider's board and executive team comprise 27% women and minorities, compared to the industry average of 25%. The total FMD workforce is currently 32% diverse. The report does not include DEI stats for its recently acquired companies.
"Like most companies, FMD is making progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, but we also recognize that we still have a long way to go. Our workforce should reflect our community, which has a rich representation of different voices, cultures, and life experiences," said George Whittier, FMD CEO. "We know that a diverse workforce increases productivity and gives companies a competitive advantage. That's why FMD needs to create and execute a diversity roadmap that will raise the bar for DEI within our own company and the industry."
The DEI committee will start the roadmap process by examining FMD’s current recruitment practices, retention efforts, community partnerships, and leadership pathways and talking with employees to gain insight into their experiences and identify potential opportunities. Based on this information, the committee will develop specific strategies that could include recruitment programs designed to get more diverse employees into the company’s workforce, STEM-related scholarships for underrepresented students, mentoring programs that will support and help retain women and monitories at the management and executive levels, internal communications programs that will mitigate unconscious bias within the workplace, the expansion of community partnerships to organizations that serve marginalized neighborhoods, and the creation of an overall environment that acknowledges and celebrates employee differences. Once completed, the committee will oversee the deployment of these strategies while continually measuring impact and identifying new ways to establish a companywide culture that fosters DEI.
The 2021 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Manufacturing Talent Study shows that while women have been making gains in the manufacturing sector, representing 30% of the overall workforce and 25% of the industry's leadership, they are also nearly two times more likely to leave in favor of work-life balance and flexible hours. The number of women in the workforce has stagnated at around 24% in the aerospace and defense industry, based on the 2021 aerospace and defense workforce story by EY and the Aerospace Industry Association. Few women are in the leadership ranks, with only three aerospace and defense companies led by female CEOs.
Minorities in the manufacturing sector currently represent only 10% of the total workforce, based on the Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute Manufacturing Talent Study. The EY/Aerospace Industries Association workforce study reports ethnic minorities represent 30% of the sector's workforce, and only 16% fill the executive ranks.