The glass ceiling is still a real problem in the world today for women in the workforce. Wage disparity, unequal opportunity, and the inaccessibility to climb up the corporate ladder, are some of the biggest obstacles women face while pursuing certain careers. Additionally, fresh graduates from universities are also not guaranteed jobs once they’ve completed their undergraduate programs, particularly if the job-market is experiencing a slump.
Fortunately for women and fresh grads in Doha, Siemens Qatar is trying to tackle the gender gap and the hurdles in finding jobs by establishing programs that are specifically geared towards recruiting more women and aiding graduates while they’re still at school and when they enter the working world.
The value in gender diversity
ILQ spoke with Livia Freudl, the Head of Human Resources in Siemens Qatar, to find out more about their programs, and how they help women to get ahead career-wise.
Pictured above: Livia Freudl
According to Freudl, who hails from Germany, Siemens hires the best person for the job while seeking to identify qualified women candidates.
“We are convinced that a diverse workforce delivers better results. Specifically in engineering roles — we do not have enough female applicants but we made it a priority to source female candidates even if it was a lot of effort for some roles,” said Freudl. “We committed ourselves to having at least one female candidate on our shortlist when recruiting for a role.”
Siemens Qatar reaches out to organizations that focus specifically on supporting female networks and that want to help women find jobs. These organizations have been very useful in producing valuable hiring results for Siemens Qatar. Another tactical strategy that Siemens Qatar conducts is to show that it’s the ideal working environment for a diverse group of people.
Image for illustrative purposes
“Siemens globally is committed to inclusion and we provide a great working environment for both genders,” Freudl said. “For our employees this means, where possible, developing a culture of flexibility that creates a family-friendly environment without affecting the business.” Seeing as family is an important aspect of the local culture, Siemens Qatar is flexible with working hours, which enables employees to work around personal and family commitments.
In the last two years, Siemens has increased the number of women employed from 8% to 13%. “We are proud that we could also promote female talents from within our organization,” Freudl said. “Siemens believes that different thinking, backgrounds, experience, expertise and individual qualities all foster creativity in high-performance cultures, and this of course means building a highly diverse workforce.”
Gender diversity is one aspect of diversity next to others, such as backgrounds and nationality, which Siemens Qatar focuses on. According to Freudl, at the end of the day, Siemens hires the best person for the job.
Since Siemens operates in an engineering dominated industry, there are a fewer number of female employees. However this field strongly appeals to females who have a background in engineering. “For gender diversity it is important to be clear about the opportunities available to female employees,” Freudl said. “Having women working at Siemens, and in particular in senior management, sends a clear message that this is a company which values gender diversity..”
At Siemens Qatar, out of 50 managerial roles, seven are filled by women. In addition, there are multiple leadership roles without direct people leadership responsibility that have a major impact on the organization’s decision-making.
“To give you two examples: our Head of Risk as well as our Head of Business Excellence are both females and both part of our senior management team,” said Freudl.
Freudl herself is the Head of Human Resources at Siemens Qatar. She shared that this role brings her joy and that the job is also challenging.
“I do not encounter particular challenges being a female in this role,” Freudl said. “My male colleagues face similar challenges.”
A helping hand for graduates
Siemens Qatar has also developed several initiatives in order to support graduates. One of their current two programs is in collaboration with Hamad bin Khalifa University where they’ve organized a scholarship program to sponsor top-scoring university students. The graduate program for the scholarship candidates involves financial support, internships and mentoring.
Image for illustrative purposes
The second program by Siemens WLL is an initiative to hire more fresh graduates from local universities.
“As Siemens Qatar we feel a strong commitment to develop local talents,” Freudl said. “Last year we have hired nine fresh graduates from local Qatar universities into our graduate program.”
Graduates are selected based on a number of different criteria.
- They must study at a local university in Qatar and want to pursue a career in Qatar as well.
- Their GPA is considered and their major needs to fit the business demand.
- Their performance will be evaluated in Siemens Qatar’s assessment centers.
“Our experience is that people with the right mindset can learn a lot, but the mindset and attitude is hard to change,” Freudl said. “The graduates need to be emotionally intelligent, show an eagerness to learn, be adaptable and agile, must have the will to succeed and go the extra mile, and show strong ownership.”
The candidates will also receive soft skills, language and technical training, leadership chats with Siemens Qatar Senior Executives, and mentoring and project work under the sponsorship of the company’s CEO.
“The employees of our graduate program are hired permanently, so they join Siemens as soon as they start the program,” Freudl explained. “For our scholarship program participants, our aim is to have all of them join Siemens after they graduate.”
A significant percentage of the graduates selected to be a part of Siemens Qatar’s graduate program were women. Six out of the nine chosen candidates in the last graduate program were female.
“Siemens Qatar will hire around 100 people in the next 12 months, which gives us the chance to even further diversify our workforce,” Freudl said. “I worked in Siemens for 13 years, and it has been an amazing time for me with great opportunities.”
You can find current openings on Siemens Qatar’s website: www.siemens.com\careers
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