Diversity in 3D Printing

Why are so few women pursuing a career in 3D printing?

Alina Tubman, Talent Acquisition Manager at 3D Systems, joins the discussion as we outline why it’s vital to get women involved in the sector to stave off a harmful talent shortage.


Talent shortage concerns

It’s no secret that we’re in the midst of a worsening talent shortage. Over the past ten years, Europe’s tech sector employment has grown three times faster than overall employment, meaning that skilled scientists, engineers and technicians have never been more crucial. Advances made in 3D printing during the same time period means the sector is now competing for talent with other technological fields such as robotics and automation in the race to bring the Internet of Things (IOT) dream to life.

3d printingAccording to the European Commission, Europe alone could face a shortage of up to 500,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020, as it is creating roughly 120,000 new jobs each year. They also predict that if there were as many women as men in this job market, the EU’s annual GDP could be boosted by €9 billion.

3D printing needs women

Globally, the additive manufacturing industry is worth more than $7.3 billion. Across roles in R&D, engineering, sales, service, applications and consulting, marketing, and software disciplines in 3D printing, 87% of employees are male and 13% are female. For 3D printing to continue to grow sustainably, it’s clear that the onus must be placed on getting more girls and women interested and supported in the field.

We need to be positive role models for girls from within the 3D printing industry, and encourage them to participate in STEM classes and extracurricular clubs. Women must become active in the industry and stay connected so that when a professional opportunity arises, they know about it and can be front and center for consideration. Companies within the 3D printing industry can help bridge the gap through participation in community/industry events, conferences, and mentorships. It’s all about relationships – creating them early on and cultivating them over time.

Alina Tubman, Talent Acquisition Manager, 3D Systems.

The lack of females attracted to the STEM industries can be traced back to an early age – research from Microsoft shows that girls who lack STEM role models or encouragement to pursue their interest in STEM subjects are around 25% less likely to continue in the field. This proves that the snowball effect of female role models is important. The more women interested and working in STEM, the more role models and support there will be for the next generation.

Taking action today3d printer

A report from Sculpteo shows that the 3D printing job market isn’t very dynamic – 60% of respondents said they weren’t planning on hiring anyone throughout the coming year.  However, we predict that the growth of the 3D printing industry will turn hiring into a necessity whether or not companies have planned to make hires; additive manufacturing applications in bioprinting, aerospace and defence, medical and dental, and prototyping and rapid iteration are all gaining traction, meaning more jobs for more employees.

The good news is that skilled female candidates do exist – the key is knowing where to look, but also how to engage with these candidates to encourage them into a typically male-dominated field. By using headhunting techniques honed over years and across specialised industries such as 3D printing, achieving true diversity of thought and gender parity is possible for companies willing to commit to change. There is a huge opportunity for 3D printing to be the leading light for diversity in the STEM industries.

Solutions Driven are experts in sourcing the best candidates in the additive manufacturing sector, with our success spanning the globe for over 20 years. By providing advice and guidance to companies seeking to prepare their companies for the future, Solutions Driven delivers world-class consultative recruitment to some of the world’s top 3D printing organisations.

Co-founded by the inventor of 3D printing, Charles (“Chuck”) Hull, 3D systems has grown into a global additive manufacturing solutions provider focused on helping manufacturers create products and business models never before possible through transformed workflows.

Struggling to increase diversity in your 3D printing organisation? 

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.

Innovation and Discrimination: We Need to Talk About CES

Is sexism and gender bias standing in the way of progress? The controversy surrounding the recent CES tech fair suggests so. 

It’s 2019 and there aren’t all that many taboos left in the world. We can speak openly about our finances, unconventional families, weight, racial issues, death, and myriad other topics that would once have had people reaching for the smelling salts. Unfortunately, it seems like female sexuality and female-centred innovation haven’t yet become socially acceptable. What effect is this having on the technology industry?

CES shows its true colours

The world’s biggest consumer tech fair claims to be “the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies… where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.” With a description like that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the event organisers and owners, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), would be champions of liberal ideals, radical thinking and unconventional approaches to society’s problems. After all, isn’t that what innovation is all about?

tech broApparently not. As the Evening Standard, the BBC, TechCrunch, The Guardian and Forbes have reported, CES is currently embroiled in a sexism scandal arising from its decision to strip an innovation award from and ban the attendance of a product which currently has no fewer than eight patents pending.

This product was scored highly by a panel of independent judges across all robotics criteria. It was designed in partnership with one of the top 4 robotics universities in the USA. Its unique design pushes the current limits of biomimicry, robotics and engineering. It was designed by a team of engineers which included a Doctor of Mechanical Engineering with expertise in Robotics and AI and a Mechanical Design Engineer who specialises in Material Science with a background in Chemistry.

‘What’s the issue?’ we hear you ask. Well, the product in question is a sex toy for females. 

Double Standards for Intimate Innovations

If the CES trade fair was a family-friendly event at which any product considered too risque or adult for all audiences was unwelcome, it would be fair to say that a sexual aide company was an inappropriate attendee. However, the CES event has long had a reputation for being explicit.

VR experienceAn over-proportioned female-shaped sex robot debuted at last year’s conference. Pole-dancing robots were a key attraction at the same event. ‘Booth Babes’ – scantily clad models whose job is to entice attendees to their company’s stall – have been a part of CES since 1967. It dedicated a whole room to a virtual reality pornography experience demonstration. 2018’s event saw an unofficial shuttle bus taking people from the conference site to a legal brothel for a sex-video experience controlled by an Amazon Echo. A remote-controlled vibrator and a pelvic floor strengthener have also been exhibited in the previous two years.

The reasoning the event organiser, CTA, gave to the Lora DiCarlo company for its decision to disqualify their product was this;

Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified. CTA reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time which, in CTA’s opinion, endangers the safety or well being of any person, or fails to comply with these Official Rules.

Considering the aforementioned list of previously explicit exhibitors, this statement failed to quell the media uproar surrounding their disqualification. CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro then released a statement indicating that the product was actually ineligible for the Robotics and Drone Category and should never have been accepted, despite the CTA’s own panel of judges awarding it one of the event’s highest accolades; the CES Innovation Awards. Judges agreed that the product “pushes the limits of engineering and design and opens the door to even bigger leaps in innovation, beyond even the sex tech uses”.

Lora DiCarlo founder Lora Haddock said;

“While there are sex and sexual health products at CES, it seems that CES/CTA administration applies the rules differently for companies and products based on the gender of their customers… Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outright banned.”

The Fall Out

Putting aside the moral debate on whether or not female sexual aides are “immoral, obscene, indecent or profane”, the knock-on impact of the CTA’s actions are far-reaching.

– Female employees and candidates

The Lora DiCarlo team subverts the tech norm and is almost exclusively female. Their product is made by females, for females. If you worked for an industry which had publicly disowned a female-made, female-centred product for seemingly no good reason, would you feel valued? Maybe you’d start looking for a new career path instead.

tech innovationBy excluding this audience, the tech industry has effectively told their female workers that their needs or desires aren’t of interest; they’re a secondary audience for the sector and this shows no signs of changing. In a time where the tech talent gap is getting worse and workers are becoming more and more scarce, alienating an entire demographic of potential candidates could not be a worse idea.

– Innovation suffers

Companies in the tech space are used to maintaining a culture of innovation; incubators, accelerators, radical working environments, flexible working and campus-style facilities have all been adopted in an effort to boost the passion workers have for churning out ideas.

But what happens when these workers see cutting-edge innovation being trampled on due to prejudice and discrimination? It’s likely to dampen enthusiasm and will make it increasingly difficult for any minority group to cut through the noise of the tech bros.

An Inclusive Approach

There’s no room for direct or indirect sexism in any industry, but particularly not in one which is in the business of people. The forward-thinking, inclusive technology industry we all deserve is only possible if the right people are powering it, and that’s where we believe we’re making a difference.

Inclusion isn’t just a boardroom buzzword. It’s something we live by in how we interact with our colleagues and in our office environment, but it’s never more apparent than when we’re searching for and shortlisting candidates. By seeking talent in places that other recruiters may overlook, we ensure that everyone has an equal chance of employment in their chosen field. Shortlists are made on merit alone, not on which faces fit.

If you’re looking for a candidate who’ll add to your culture rather than simply fit in, get in touch.

Courtney Weisell

Courtney Weisell

Customer Development Specialist

Courtney is passionate about cultivating professional relationships to ensure the best service for our clients. Acting as the link between our client base and our exec head hunters, her goal is to bring our unique 6S process to life and to determine customers’ hiring needs.

Boardrooms lacking diversity are named and shamed

The UK government remain focused on increasing diversity within some of the biggest companies in Britain.

Ten of the largest corporations in the UK have yet to appoint any female board members. While not illegal, by publishing the review into which businesses are focused on increasing diversity and which are ignoring calls to improve the UK government are helping to highlight the need for businesses who ignore diversity issues to be held accountable by consumers.

Government 'names and shames' companies falling short on gender diversity in the boardroom

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and troubled Stobart group have been singled out for having all-male boards as a government review warned that Britain's biggest companies are on course to miss gender diversity targets. The findings, part of the Hampton-Alexander Review of FTSE 350 businesses, shame ten companies that have yet to appoint a woman to the top table.

Solutions Driven are focused on helping companies to increase the diversity and inclusion within their organisation by working closely with GenAnalytics, a research consultancy focused on the application of data analytics to drive business performance through greater diversity and equality in the workplace. In association with GenAnalytics, Jane Gotts, Director at GenAnalytics, and Sooz Kinsella, Marketing Leader at Solutions Driven, are hosting a new webinar to review the key issues employers are experiencing while developing and implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.

Should STEM organisations be concerned about diversity?

Diversity is hitting the headlines everywhere, and STEM is frequently criticised for its lack of diverse teams. Should STEM organisations be concerned?

The current STEM landscape

The UK has the lowest proportion of women in engineering of any European country: just 10% of engineering employees are female. A study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) also states that almost a third of LBGT young people actively avoided a career in science, technology, engineering and maths because of fears they would be discriminated against within the industry. Particularly relevant due to the impending critical skills shortage facing STEM organisations is the admission from 50% of teachers who admit gender stereotyping STEM subjects in the classroom. The same study by Accenture showed that 52% of parents were guilty of the same prejudices. Could this be the reason that just 17% of UK STEM professors are female?

The problem

The UK is facing a ‘national crisis’ in relation to STEM industries, particularly in relation to its space and defence fields. Across the pond, the STEM sector is growing faster than any other in the U.S.: vacancies are set to increase by 17% by 2024, while non-STEM employment will increase by just 12%. Currently, 84% of this workforce are white or Asian males. It should be obvious to everyone reading these statistics that this level of growth is unsustainable with such a limited talent pool.

One of the most baffling issues concerning diversity in STEM is that almost everyone agrees that it’s a great idea – 85% of executives at large global corporations ($500m+) told Forbes that diversity is crucial for innovation. If we all agree that diversity should improve, why is it proving so difficult for STEM organisations to attract and retain diverse talent?

Breaking down diversity

Part of the issue is that diversity is a huge umbrella term for a multitude of different factors. Age, sexuality, gender, race, culture, socio-economic background, disability, ethnicity, nationality… the list is almost endless. To make the task more manageable, Forbes revealed that companies with a diversity program tend to focus on one subsection of diversity; 80% focus on gender, 77% on ethnicity, followed by age (72%) and race (70%). Cultural differences also play a part – Asia-Pacific companies are more likely to focus on age and nationality, compared to European companies which are more concerned with disability and sexuality.

It may be an understandable approach, but according to Professor Scott Page, it’s an incorrect one. He is one of many thought leaders who propose that diversity of thought is more important than individual ability, and that cognitive difference may in fact matter more than talent. At first glance this statement seems strange – how could a group of less talented but diverse individuals outperform a group of homogeneous geniuses? The answer is simple – the diverse group considers many more avenues and will approach a problem from far more angles than the group of similar individuals.

Why diversity matters for STEM

STEM industries rely on their ability to keep innovating. Individual companies are in a race against competitors to engineer efficiencies, create new models and find creative ways of disrupting old ways of working. Tech corporations such as Apple, Facebook and Google need to continually find new ways of creating revenue and entering consumers lives, whereas on a national scale defence and security innovation must keep pace with digital advancement. STEM companies must embrace diversity and inclusion if they are to maintain the growth that they have enjoyed in recent years the world over, and it’s economically savvy to support diversity of thought before competitors do. Commercially, creatively and morally, it might just be the best thing the STEM industry has ever done.

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.

Diversity & Inclusion, an overview of the current UK legislation

On-Demand Webinar: Diversity & Inclusion – an overview of the current UK legislation

Join Jane Gotts, Director at GenAnalytics, and Sooz Kinsella, Marketing Leader at Solutions Driven, as they review the key issues employers are experiencing while developing and implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gain a basic understanding of the current UK legislation
  • Key items to consider when building your diversity & inclusion strategy
  • Avoid the most common issues businesses experience when implementing a D&I strategy

Watch the on-demand webinar below:

While UK legislation – covering age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation among others – sets minimum standards, an effective diversity and inclusion strategy goes beyond legal compliance and seeks to add value to an organisation, contributing to employee well-being and engagement.
About GenAnalytics

GenAnalytics© Ltd is a market insights, communications, and research consultancy focused on the application of data analytics to drive business performance through greater diversity and equality in the workplace. GenAnalytics© is pioneering the application of data analytics and business insights in the area of equalities, business performance and human capital asset management.

About Solutions Driven

Solutions Driven was launched back in 1998. Our founder had spent much of his career working as a senior operations executive with a number of hi-tech US multinational manufacturing firms. In his management roles, he became frustrated by the transactional service levels on offer from the recruitment sector. He recognised that there was a need for a recruitment business which offered the very highest service levels. By working exclusively on assignments and taking the time needed to carry out detailed consultation and research of the market, Solutions Driven can successfully fill challenging roles across the globe. Today, Solutions Driven is a thriving business of over 50 staff members. We’ve helped our clients solve recruitment problems in 53 countries worldwide and work as a key recruitment partner across the US and EMEA for a wide range of clients across diverse industries, from multi-billion dollar corporations to rapid-growth SMEs.

About Talenytics

Talenytics is a recruitment and collaboration platform that helps companies hire and keep high-quality candidates. We put collaboration between Recruiters and Hiring Managers at the heart of the process, improving efficiency and ensuring everyone is on the same page throughout. We know that the recruitment process isn’t over once the candidate signs the contract, which is why Talenytics tracks feedback and the candidate’s progress up to a year after the hire is made. We help you understand what works well and what needs work to drive up your Hiring Quality.

This webinar is brought to you by:

Top Recruitment Statistics 2018

The talent shortage, diversity and recruitment metrics are all hot topics for 2018, but what do the numbers really tell us?

Diversity is making the headlines in recent months, but it’s not the only figure that’s worrying HR departments worldwide. We provide a commentary on each of the figures below.

Candidate Experience

Over three-quarters of candidates believe that how they’re treated during the application process reveals how highly – or how poorly – a company values its people. While this is good news for companies which have a first-class recruitment and hiring process, it should pose a serious concern for any organisation with a less-than-perfect reputation for candidate experience.

The current talent shortage means that above-average candidates can afford to be very selective in which company they chose to work for. In fact, top candidates are available for just 10 days before getting hired. That doesn’t leave hiring teams with much room for error.

Time to Fill

While it’s true that the talent shortage may be a significant contributing factor in the massive rise in time to fill figures, businesses find that the $500-per-day cost of vacancies hits their bottom line hard. Skill shortages may also be playing a part, as 73% of employers struggle to find relevant candidates.

Sourcing passive candidates is the obvious solution to this issue. Statistics show that 86% of the most qualified candidates are not actively seeking a job, and that 73% of all candidates are passive job seekers. The need for an expert talent source programme is clear.


Gender pay gap reporting in the UK caused a stir recently, with analysis of government figures suggesting that more than three-quarters of UK companies pay men more on average than women. Gender isn’t the only diversity issue present within workplaces across the globe, however. Following gender pay gap reporting, there have also been calls to make ethnic pay gap reporting mandatory too.

Understandably, in light of these figures recruitment and hiring bias has been put under the microscope. 62% of female executives report that they have been overlooked in favour of a male candidate, despite being equally qualified. Even more bleak is the statistic showing that just 32% of senior level or C-suite leaders are women.

Solving 2018’s Most Pressing Issues

Partnering with a recruiter who has demonstrable experience in hiring top quality candidates within stringent criteria is the first step for companies which are looking to resolve diversity, time to hire and candidate experience issues.

 If you’d like to discuss how our bespoke solutions can assist your hiring strategy, contact our specialist team today.

Before you go, why not check out the talent trends for 2019?

Talent Leaders Whitepaper report 2019

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.