How More Women Can Enter The Packaging Industry
STEM professions are still dominated by men. But how can more women be attracted to technical professions and retained in these fields? Sustainability can be a driver.
Finding and retaining the right skilled workers is an increasing challenge for many companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector. Against this background, too, it is becoming increasingly important to attract more women to technical professions. In addition, increasing the proportion of women opens up further potential for companies, as diverse teams are more successful, explains the VDMA.
The numbers speak for themselves: more men study technical subjects than women. The number of female graduates in core engineering subjects has indeed risen over the years to around 20 percent. But these have not reached the mechanical and plant engineering sector: Here, according to the VDMA, female engineers make up around 11 percent of the workforce.
For Simone Mosca, CEO of the machine manufacturer Mosca from Waldbrunn, it is "quite normal" that women work in the packaging industry. "On an international level, we have many women in leading positions in the company. Here in Germany, however, we basically have fewer female applicants than male applicants in the technical professions. But I think that will change in the future," says the entrepreneur. The 51-year-old also wants to get involved in this. For example, she is an honorary member of the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU) and the University Council of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University. Nevertheless, Simone Mosca emphasizes that it is fundamentally important to her that qualifications come first.
As the daughter of a craftsman who, even as a child, was more interested in the machines and tools in her father's workshop than in dolls, she grew up with technology. After completing her training as an industrial clerk, she decided to take further training to become an industrial specialist, which paved the way for her current career. At the age of 22, she took over purchasing management in a small company and had to explain to her older colleagues why logistics can run differently. "I learned a lot for life in the process," laughs Simone Mosca. Every experience is worth its weight in gold.
As a working mother, she has also experienced for herself what it can mean to be flexible. Together with a business partner, she went into business for herself and founded "S&P Elektronik" - today's Mosca Elektronik GmbH. Later, she moved to the management of Mosca GmbH. "I know that being self-employed was an advantage for me as a mother. I was able to schedule my working hours as it suited my time. Not every woman can do that today," says Simone Mosca. At Mosca, she wants to make it possible for all employees to combine family and career. "I don't make a distinction between men and women who want to work part-time. But there are still just more women." Recently, the first female manager at Mosca started working part-time, she said. "Leadership should be possible part-time. This is not my personal concern, but also that of the entire management team at Mosca. We are of one mind on this." However, many women have not yet mustered the courage to apply for higher positions on a part-time basis, she said.
Today's young people, as she knows from her voluntary work at the university, but also from her sons, are much more self-confident when it comes to these issues. Therefore, there will be changes in a few years, she can say quite confidently. In order to attract junior staff, the company deliberately keeps in touch with student temps or interns. "And we deliberately focus on interdisciplinary teams." The mix of disciplines is also important for the climate in the company, he says.
Values such as sustainability and equality are also more in demand than ever, but they have to be lived authentically, otherwise a company will not endear itself as an employer to the next generation.
Martin Buchwitz, Managing Director at Packaging Valley, also thinks that in the future there will be more women in packaging engineering, but also in the entire field of packaging technology. In the field of packaging engineers, however, the relevant universities generally have a shortage of prospective students and students. "My guess is that the female share will increase when things move more in the direction of packaging design and the topic of sustainability," Buchwitz said.
Further report on the topic of women in the packaging industry follows