Addressing the Gap in DEI in the 3D Printing Workplace


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DEI, or rather ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’, is a term that has been growing in popularity across the globe, as can be seen in the Google Trends data in the image below. Over the past 5 years, we have seen an explosion in the attention being paid to DEI – whether in workplaces, social situations, schools, or other formal settings – it has become almost unavoidable as a topic of conversation.

In the additive manufacturing industry, we have seen a lot of attention being paid to this topic. With women historically being largely under-represented in STEM fields, the birth of organizations such as Women in 3D Printing advocating for and promoting the position of women in the 3D printing industry, brought the topic of DEI to the attention of the wider AM population.

With the appointment of Sarah Goehrke as the Head of DEI on the board of Directors at WI3DP one year ago, we saw the organization starting to take a firmer stance on the issue. Where they initially were born from a desire to increase the proportion of women in the industry, they have now moved to bring attention to the wider community under the DEI umbrella.

With all these mentions of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the industry over the last year, Alexander Daniels Global were inspired to include a spotlight on the topic in their annual salary survey report – capturing the sentiments of both AM employers and professionals on the topic. The findings from the data showed the extent to which DEI is a topic of conversation in the industry, the ways in which it benefits and challenges the workplace as an initiative and the steps employers are taking to improve their approaches to it.

Sentiments of Employees

The sentiment of the professionals that were surveyed reflects the extent to which diversity and inclusion is valued by employees in the industry. To give you an idea, 51% of respondents to the survey declared that it is ‘very important’ or ‘important’ for them to work for an organization that supports DEI in the workplace. Despite DEI not being a topic of attention in 60% of respondents’ workplaces, the initiative is still valued by the majority of professionals.

For the most part, the data showed that professionals were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the way their organizations were approaching the topic of DEI. Whether their employers were successfully creating opportunities for and implementing feedback from employees, promoting diversity in leadership, pay equity or encouraging cross department collaboration, it seems employers are giving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion the time and attention it deserves – perhaps even without directly realizing it.

However, as was mentioned by Sarah Goehkre in her comments on the DEI data in this year’s AM Salary Survey Report, the thing that stood out the most from this year’s data was the ambivalence of the Employer respondents to the survey:

“Employer feedback this year, though, is much more ambivalent. By far the largest responses to questions about DEI as a priority, as a successfully implemented strategy, and as a recruitment focus are “neither successful nor unsuccessful”.

“That’s often a nice way of saying “not a priority” while trying to save face. The time has come to listen to employees, to make the workplace an environment for workers to bring their whole selves – that’s how to drive change. That’s how to drive innovation. That’s how to drive different ways of thinking.”

Furthermore, the most notable difference between the employer respondents and professionals was in fact the idea that the majority of employer respondents to the salary survey reported that diversity was not, or did not know if it was, a topic of discussion in the workplace, with only 40% of employer respondents reporting that DEI is in fact a topic of discussion. Meanwhile, more than 40% of employer respondents answered questions on what they are doing to support DEI in the workplace, giving the impression that even if organizations are not proactively implementing DEI strategies, they are making steps to make workplaces more inclusive, fostering a better workplace environment and culture.

In addition, perhaps a less known, or less considered, fact of the positive impacts on businesses of promoting DEI in the workplace, is that it accounts for up to a 33% increase in productivity and 87% increase in the quality of decision making when compared with businesses that do not consciously promote DEI in the workplace.

Upcoming Webinar – Addressing the Gap in DEI in the AM Workplace

Coming up on June 29 at 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET / 5:00pm – 6:00pm BST, Sophie Pontoppidan of Alexander Daniels Global will be joined by Sarah Goehrke, Head of DEI, Board of Directors and People Track Leader at Women in 3D Printing, for a discussion on all things DEI in the additive manufacturing workplace.

Having featured as a spotlight in the 2022 AM Salary Survey Report, with expert comment from Sarah, this upcoming event will feature a live discussion between Sophie and Sarah on the following:

  • To What Extent Does DEI Play a Role in Today’s Workplace?
    How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion became a topic of discussion in the AM industry and to what extent companies are incorporating this into the workplace.
  • Perceptions of AM Talent & Employers on DEI
    The gap between Employer and Talent perceptions on DEI strategies and insight into what % of companies don’t have any strategies in place.
  • How DEI Strategies Support & Challenge the AM Workplace
    The benefits of employing DEI practices in the workplace and the challenges that this may cause to organizations.
  • Tips for Improving Diverse Hiring Strategies and DEI in the Workplace
    The benefits of implementing or improving diverse hiring strategies and what true diverse hiring looks like. Plus, tips on how diverse hiring practices can be improved.

The webinar will be recorded and sent to all registrants – sign up to join the event live by visiting the Alexander Daniels Global website.

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