KNAUER took part in Girls’ Day nationwide in Germany on April 26, 2018 for the thirteenth time. Managing director Alexandra Knauer wants to inspire girls, especially for engineering and technical job profiles, because the company regularly experiences the gender imbalance in these occupational fields.
Whenever there are vacancies for example in the development department, the CNC production or in the assembly, the number of female applicants is much lower than that of male ones. Sometimes not even one female applies for these jobs. Therefore, despite strong efforts it is not yet possible to occupy these jobs in a gender-balanced way.
Make better use of potential
Young women in Germany have a particularly good school education. Nevertheless, more than half of the girls choose from only ten different occupations in the vocational training system - not a single scientific-technical one is among them. Thus, females do not fully exploit their career opportunities because in industry-related areas, career opportunities are often better than in service professions that are popular with girls, such as retail trade, nursing or medicine. At the same time, many companies in the technology-related areas are in search of young talent, which means that the chances of getting permanent employment after training are good.
"I think the Girls' Day is a very important initiative to take away the girls’ shyness of technical-scientific occupations. We want to show that these professions are also a lot of fun. That’s why we let them try out things for themselves," says company boss Alexandra Knauer.
An exciting day for the girls
The Girls' Day group of ten girls received a lively insight into the processes of the KNAUER company. The first section was about the feeling of working as a scientist. The girls were allowed to wear lab coats and perform experiments under expert guidance in the KNAUER school lab. As a side effect, they learned how the analytical instruments from KNAUER (HPLC systems) are used to determine the substances in liquid mixtures, like caffeine in Cola.
Later, the participants could design and manufacture their own product. From a sketch on the drawing board, through the design software to the final product, the small workshop included the most important steps. After that the group stood full of anticipation at the CNC machine and watched as the self-designed precision metal jewelry beads took shape. In the end, the girls could take their product home and were very interested, asking head of CNC production Thomas Müller many questions. They learned that the latest of the computer-controlled manufacturing machines are only just one year old and that the machines in the shop are an investment of about 1.5 million euros. The girls found the 3D tactile coordinate testing machine also very exciting, with which a workpiece can be precisely and automatically measured. For the production and the precision of the KNAUER analytical instruments, it is most important that all specifications are met.
"If we'll see one or the other girl again as a future applicant, I would be very happy," said Alexandra Knauer at the end of this successful day.
The family-owned company KNAUER Wissenschaftliche Geräte GmbH has been developing measuring instruments for research and science for 55 years. The liquid chromatography (HPLC) systems are used for example for testing food or environmental samples on ingredients and impurities, or to check the quality of pharmaceuticals. The separation process can also be used for the isolation of natural or active ingredients with very high purity. Alexandra Knauer leads the company in the second generation with a staff of 140 people.