Home Issues Reconciling work and family life
Contacts  Kareen Vaisbrot Kareen Vaisbrot
Head of Employer Issues
+41 44 384 42 03 +41 44 384 42 03k.vaisbrotnoSpam@swissmem.ch
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Reconciling work and family life

Reconciling work and family life is not always easy. And that’s true for women and men alike. At 27%, the proportion of women in the MEM industries is below average compared with other sectors. This means women represent the largest unused pool of potential skilled labour. Swissmem is pursuing four approaches to attract more women to the MEM industries and make it easier to balance work and family life.

Getting girls interested in technology

The most promising long-term measure is getting girls interested in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as early as possible. The goal here is to motivate young women to pursue a technical apprenticeship or take a course of studies in a STEM field. If this does not happen, it is virtually impossible to transition into the world of technology at a later stage. Together with various partners (Ing.ch, Future Day, explore-it), Swissmem is attempting to give girls (and boys too) a sense of the fascination of technology.

A great deal of positive feedback is being received on the didactic concept “explore-it”, which Swissmem is supporting. The materials produced by explore-it make it easy for teachers to introduce technology to the curriculum and give children in year 4 and above exciting opportunities to come up with technical solutions of their very own.

For slightly older girls, Swissmem partner organization Ing.ch organizes a number of technology days for girls, or “Meitli-Techniktage”, each year. The programme gives secondary school students aged 13 to 15 an insight into the technical professions. The schoolgirls work on small projects under the supervision of trainees. While doing so they can talk to young women who have chosen to pursue a technical apprenticeship. For some years, Swissmem has also been a partner in Swiss National Future Day, which gives girls exciting glimpses into the world of technical careers.

Trying to reconcile work and family life? Profawo can help

For well-trained women to find their way (back) to the MEM industries, the right conditions need to be in place. One aspect of this is ensuring that they can balance the demands of work and family life. Service provider profawo can identify company-specific ways to improve offerings in this area. Thanks to a partnership between Swissmem and profawo, Swissmem member companies can benefit from a free initial consultation. If need be, Swissmem can get in touch with profawo on companies’ behalf.

Providing family-friendly working conditions

Working conditions that help employees reconcile the demands of work and family life form the foundation for long-term commitment. Flexible working time models are an important tool here. The CEA for the MEM industries also offers the option of annual working time. Flexitime is another option for gaining the required flexibility in working time arrangements. After longer absences, e.g. periods of maternity leave, returning to work can be made easier by gradually increasing part-time hours. Other options include job-sharing or working from home.

SwisswoMEM Club: sharing experiences and giving mutual support

Brought into being by Swissmem, the SwisswoMEM club organizes events relating to the topics of women, careers and reconciling work and family life. These events provide a way for women from all walks of life to share their experiences.

They can also communicate online via the SwisswoMEMclub LinkedIn group.

Last update: 18.07.2019