The government is trying to encourage graduating engineering students to work in the engineering field instead of the more attractive financial field. I am one of the females that is determined to work in the engineering field.
After finishing my diploma in Chemical Engineering, I went on to pursue a degree in the local university since I had the grades, interest and the opportunity (financially stable and free of responsibilities) to do so. At that time, I felt that a degree will improve my knowledge and employability in the male-dominated technical field.
After graduation, there seems to be more vacancies for technicians compared to engineers.
I decided to focus on getting a technician job since I had gone through a diploma course that trained me for those kind of job (practicals in pilot plant environment and internship) and I do not mind the diploma pay as long as I can bring in income for my family as soon as possible.
However, from the feedback I get from recruiters, I have concluded that the reasons for the failure to get an interview for technician roles are as follow:
- I am a female (high probability of leaving the technician role for family or childbirth and physically weaker than males).
- I have a degree (high probability of leaving for higher pay when I have the technical experience).
Of course, my soft skills and experience level may have been a factor too, but I wonder, are degree holders condemned to take up management and leadership roles and positions?
I do not have issues with taking up leadership roles but what if I am willing to be a team player doing routine work like a technician to bring in an income for my family?
How can I convince employers that I will stay? How can I convince employers that even if I want to move on to a management role in the future, I will move within the company and benefit the company with my in house experiences and knowledge?
Also, I have been attending a WSQ Workplace Safety and Health coordinator course to build up on the skills that I can offer in the process plant. I am passionate in contributing to the quality, health, safety and environment area in the workplace.
Workplace safety and health requires:
- Great organization skills as there is a lot of paperwork involved (permits etc).
- Empathy and anticipation of danger (Sense of Caution).
- Great negotiation and communication skills with people of different functions and levels
These are skills that comes naturally to females too. So, I was surprised that the safety sector is also dominated by males. Understandably, to work in the safety sector, one should have hands-on experience in managing the operations in a plant, which is why I want to work in a plant to gain technical experience.
I am highly analytical, meticulous and I do not mind doing hands-on technical shift work or get myself dirty. I want to make full use of my youth to work in the engineering field, especially in the QHSE (Quality/Health/Safety/Environment) related sector.
I am open to laboratory technician, process Technician/Engineer and QHSE positions. How can I enter the safety field in engineering?
Edited and republished from Transitioning.