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Women in maritime engineering

Women in maritime engineering

08 March, 2021

To this day, women are underrepresented in many fields – especially in maritime shipbuilding. For the International Women's Day, we talked to Gabriele Zogs. As Head of Engineering Resources Management, the mechanical engineer looks back on a successful career in a traditionally male dominated industry. We asked her what advice she has for young up-and-coming female talents, who want to pursue a career in maritime engineering.

What excites you most about your job at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems?

I'm a mechanical engineer as well as a business economist, and I've had both a technical and a business education. That's what excites me, because it allows me to combine technical issues and facts with a business understanding. And that's how I was able to take on different areas of responsibility in various departments at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

A career path doesn't always run smoothly; there are ups and downs. Is there a challenge in your professional life that has particularly shaped you? What makes you proud when you look back on your career?

I can look back on almost 30 years of professional experience. I have worked in a wide variety of industries, was once without a job, and self-employed for almost 5 years. When I look back, the most challenging thing was always to start something new: Either a new field of responsibility, a new company or being self-employed. Yet, every milestone I reached made me proud.

Your industry is considered a traditionally male dominated sector. How do you personally perceive the proportion and opportunities of female specialists in your industry? Why do you think fewer women than men choose a career in your industry?

In my opinion, companies need to address young women proactively at an early stage. In schools, young women should be actively introduced to technical topics. Many times, young girls still grow up without a technically-skilled female role model as fathers do most of the technical tasks at home.

Also at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, the proportion of female colleagues in engineering or management positions is still quite small, which is a pity, because in my opinion mixed-gender teams are much more successful. I think more women in leading positions could help to pave the way for female specialists in our industry. Therefore, everything should be done so that women in management roles becomes something normal.

What advice would you give to young women and young engineers graduating university?

I recommend young women and female talents to take the advice of their older colleagues. Setbacks are part of life. So don't let it discourage you, if something doesn't go as planned. Look for a mentor with whom you can discuss everything. Rome wasn't built in a day: so sometimes just shift down a gear.

thyssenkrupp Marine Systems wants to bring more women on board

The number of applicants at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems confirms Gabriele's observations: The company still receives fewer applications from girls and women for the apprenticeships or dual study programs offered. But that’s about to change. thyssenkrupp Marine Systems aims to actively bring more women and girls on board.

We have talked to Cem Selvi, Head of Vocational Training at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems about the company’s opportunities for young talents in general and activities to reach more young girls and women willing to pursue a career in maritime engineering.

“We are taking female apprentices and students to trade fairs and have launched a project in cooperation with the youth representation: Here we discuss with trainees and those who want to become trainees, what we can do better to make more young women feel welcome and successful at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems,” says Selvi.

Thanks to these efforts Selvi and his team have already seen an increase in the number of female trainees and students in recent years and continue to look forward to new female trainees at the Kiel shipyard. Each September apprentices and students can apply via the thyssenkrupp career site.