Interview with Susann Krauer
Ms Krauer, what do you do at Rheinmetall and how did you find your way to us?
For two years, I have been a development engineer in the gunnery division at Rheinmetall Air Defence AG in Zurich. Before that, I have worked in the field of sensors and fire control units for five years.
However, my professional career began with an apprenticeship as a design engineer with another company. This went on for 4 years and was followed by studies as a mechanical engineer, with a focus on biomechanics, as well as a station as a technical assistant at the chair for materials technology.
During my first professional station as a project manager, a lot by men supported me, as this was the first phase in which women were increasingly promoted in these areas.
When I subsequently joined Rheinmetall Air Defence, I particularly wanted to gain new experience, not only to gain further technical training, but also to get to know new machines and their areas of operation. Rheinmetall has many opportunities, one can switch departments within the group and the synergies here are greater than one would think.
There are still more men than women in technical fields. How do you experience your working day?
Daily Business at Rheinmetall
In the beginning, some male colleagues were sceptical whether I understood what was happening "in the field" because I did not do military service. However, the opportunity to take part in live tests meant that I was able to familiarise myself quickly with the subject matter. With this personal commitment, I was able to gain respect and acceptance. The more professional experience I gained, the more acceptance my colleagues showed towards me. I do my job just as well as my colleagues. This is also seen and appreciated.
Through the cooperation between the locations, women are also more involved. I do not yet perceive the promotion of women in the management sector as strongly. However, I also find quotas rather counterproductive.
You have to harmonise at the workplace. That is why, as Equal Opportunities Officer at my site, I support women in the technical field in addressing problems. In this function, I also deal with discrimination against foreign colleagues, equal pay, bullying, and much more.
Was there someone who inspired you and is still your role model today?
My father works in the technical field. He presented me his railways. This sparked my passion for technology.
Which goals do you want to achieve in the future?
I currently have two very interesting long-term projects (2 and 5 years). We are a diverse team with lots of creativity and ingenuity. I would also like to carry out new developments and ideally, upon completion of these projects, become a project manager or department head.
Are there any family-friendly solutions at Rheinmetall that make it possible to combine family and career?
Yes, almost everywhere! In the past, working from home was not possible in the construction department, but thanks to new technical achievements of our laptops, this is no longer an issue. This is very family-friendly!
Also male colleagues use more and more part-time solutions. We also have managers who have an 80% job.
Flexible arrangements have many advantages for both sides. Above all, flextime helps me because I tend to be in the office late in the morning, but I like to work later in the evening. With flextime, everyone can use the best working time for themselves. This also means that we are available in the office for a longer time span, as everyone comes and goes at different times. This more or less voluntarily created the team's long responsiveness.
What is the stupidest saying you have ever heard in your professional career?
Now we have two women in the department and still nobody brings cake!
What career advice can you give young, aspiring women?
You should always openly seek dialogue with your superiors and the HR department in order to develop your career in the right direction. Having a goal is also very important. I always recommend showing initiative and asking for opportunities. You should take your career into your own hands proactively.