Femtec meets thyssenkrupp: Engineering expertise and woman power

Career at thyssenkrupp | Corporate culture | Engineering | The share of women in engineering and the sciences is still only around 25 percent. thyssenkrupp has set itself the target of achieving a 15% proportion of women in leadership positions by the 2020/21 fiscal year. To achieve this, and because we want to attract more women to work for us, we are focused on supporting young female talents. A win-win situation for both sides.

It’s 115 years since Marie Curie became the first ever woman to be awarded a Nobel prize – the Nobel prize for physics for the discovery of spontaneous radioactivity.  Mankind has come a long way in these 115 years. We’ve been to the moon. The internet has revolutionized our lives. Marie Curie won a second Nobel prize, this time for chemistry.

But despite Curie’s groundbreaking achievements, women are still underrepresented in the STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) – even after 115 years. That can’t be right – an opinion shared by the Femtec organization and thyssenkrupp. They are working together to ensure young female talents receive the best possible support.

thyssenkrupp and Femtec are working together to support young female talents

Every year Femtec supports female students on engineering, electronics, energy, IT and physics courses – the specialist areas in which the proportion of women is still very low. They receive career training, are able to establish contacts, and take part in excursions to get to know potential employers, such as thyssenkrupp.

The many specific questions the students ask during their tour of the elevator plant show that they already have a great deal of specialist knowledge. The many specific questions the students ask during their tour of the elevator plant show that they already have a great deal of specialist knowledge.

These students are united by high levels of commitment and determination. They have all completed a tough assessment center to receive the scholarship. “Study grades, international and practical experience, and engagement also outside the university are the most important factors for us,” says Ulrike Dittrich, responsible for Talent Management at Femtec.

Tour of the elevator plant in Neuhausen

thyssenkrupp is interested in establishing contact with the young talents and presenting itself as a possible employer. That’s why the company has been taking part in the Femtec Summer School program for years, inviting 35 scholarship holders to a visit – this year to the elevator plant in Neuhausen. Marco Beyl, Managing Director Finance, welcomes the women and introduces thyssenkrupp as a company. “It’s a great sign that a member of the board has taken so much time for us and our questions,” says Sarah Bensberg, who is studying IT at RWTH University Aachen.

During their excursion, the Femtec scholars get to know the largest elevator plant in Europe. During their excursion, the Femtec scholars get to know the largest elevator plant in Europe.

During a tour of Europe’s biggest elevator plant, the students show that they already know a great deal. “I wasn’t expecting the questions to be quite so specific”, says Jan Heberle, Lean Expert at thyssenkrupp after guiding them through the facility.

Focus on dialogue

For thyssenkrupp and the students, this day is all about dialogue and sharing experience. The future engineers also have the opportunity to talk with other women who are already working for thyssenkrupp.

Even today, significantly more men than women work in MINT occupations - thyssenkrupp and Femtec want to change that. Even today, significantly more men than women work in MINT occupations – thyssenkrupp and Femtec want to change that.

One of them is Ana Alhama. She works as an engineer on the MULTI® project – thyssenkrupp’s highly innovative rope-free elevator system. She is the only woman in a 29-strong team – a fact that the female students found slightly shocking. But Ana Alhama is also a shining example of how women can succeed in traditionally male-dominated domains – and the fact that family and career are not mutually exclusive. So Ana Alhama is an inspiration for the students: “We met a great role model and found out about a really exciting project like MULTI®, we were all pretty thrilled.”

Studies show that diverse teams are more successful

The Femtec excursions are a great opportunity for both sides to present themselves. The students are given a very close insight into the company. And thyssenkrupp has the opportunity to attract young talents to the Group – especially female talents.

thyssenkrupp and Femtec have been working together successfully for years. thyssenkrupp and Femtec have been working together successfully for years.

“We want to achieve a 15% share of women in leadership positions by 2020/21. That might not sound like very much, but we still have quite a way to go,” says Stefan Cassel from thyssenkrupp’s HR department. “That’s why it’s so important to us to work with Femtec. We’ve been cooperating for several years, and lots of the young women taking part in the program have started with us as interns or trainees. Several have also joined various parts of the Group as direct entrants.”

Numerous studies show that diverse, mixed teams enjoy greater success – and that’s something the scholarship holders are also convinced of. “I think men and women have completely different characteristics. Mixed teams provide greater diversity and thus greater progress,” says Sarah Bensberg.

thyssenkrupp presents itself as a multi-faceted employer

The day at thyssenkrupp opened up new perspectives for many of the young women. “I was really surprised at how many sides there are to thyssenkrupp,” says Lena Keiner from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. “Events like this are important not just for us, but also for the company. Young female engineers who perhaps were originally thinking about other companies will now be more aware of thyssenkrupp.”

That’s a big success for thyssenkrupp: The female students with their knowledge and talent represent the kind of living engineering culture that is at the heart of our Group. They can help drive our progress. And the fact that visions and innovativeness have nothing to do with gender is something Marie Curie knew over 115 years ago.

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