Carlie Strawbridge has worked at Rheinmetall for five years and during that time she has seen her career take off in a whole new direction. Now, as a Manager of Electronic Solutions, based in Adelaide, she leads a highly technical engineering and training management team of 25 employees in a traditionally male-dominated area of the industry.
Rheinmetall is passionate about supporting the women they employ and is working hard to achieve a more gender-balanced workplace, now and in the future. Carlie shares 10 reasons why women should consider a career with them.
#1. You will feel supported in your career progression
At Rheinmetall, Carlie has always felt inspired and actively encouraged to seek out new challenges and opportunities. Within 18 months of joining the company, her role progressed from Financial Controller to Head of Department. And when a position came up as Operations Manager in Adelaide, she was proactively approached to consider it.
“I was encouraged to apply for the role and was successful. Rheinmetall is a supportive employer that encourages me to build my career!”
#2. You will be offered flexible working arrangements
As a working mother, Carlie knows the juggle is real! She says: “It can be such a fine balance of not having enough hours in a day. Throw some study in that mix and it can become more than a bit chaotic!” Having an employer who appreciates that life outside of work needs to be prioritized too goes a long way to making sure Carlie feels appreciated and motivated. Taking advantage of Rheinmetall’s flexible working, including options like 9-day fortnights, and working from home, this means she can be there for colleagues and her family.
I’m lucky in that we have a flexible working environment that enables me to continue to grow my career while also being able to support and care for my young family.”
#3. They’re leading the way in gender diversity
Carlie admits that Defense and especially software engineering – the main focus of the Adelaide office – is still “heavily male-dominated.” But Rheinmetall is keen to take steps to change that, and in 2021, 38% of Rheinmetall’s internal promotions were for women. Carlie knows that it’s not easy “getting the balance between the right person and considering diversity” but she’s hopeful things will change as more people become aware of the opportunities available to them.
“It’s a challenge from an industry profile perspective, as well as a lack of women interested in making software engineering a career. We need to focus more on bringing awareness to the flexibility and opportunities on offer.”
#4. You’ll have an exciting range of projects
Drawing on its more than 130-year history, the teams at Rheinmetall work across several different areas of Defense delivering products and solutions for land, sea and air. Carlie loves being amid so much creativity and innovation.
“The concepts and work they do never ceases to amaze me. Being able to play a part in enabling them to achieve their goals and outcomes through providing a workplace that nurtures their ability and encourages development is incredibly motivating.”
As a Manager, Carlie’s number one goal is to ensure her employees are inspired by the work they do, and that they maintain strong, collaborative relationships with their contacts:
“I’d like to leave a strong foundation for the future of our business, where employees are satisfied with their career path and work, and our clients consider us partners in their business.”
#5. You’ll be among some amazing, talented people
Covering such a wide variety of projects requires a team which showcases a diverse range of specialist skills, which Carlie says is one of the best things about working at Rheinmetall:
“We have a great balance and blend of personalities that contributes to a really nice working environment. Every team member brings unique qualities, both professionally and personally. Our teams provide positive feedback about the workplace and work well together, yet all have differences that ensure that our programs are exposed to a wide range of solutions and opportunities.”
#6. You can create your own life path
Carlie’s journey to the top hasn’t always taken a conventional route. On leaving school, she worked in retail for 15 years – starting out as a Checkout Operator then moving into Finance. Carlie would like to remind people that wherever you are in life, you can achieve whatever you want if you work hard enough:
“My experience has all been gained through hands-on work, not study. I drove this path. And it’s been the same with my management career.”
#7. You might surprise yourself
As a high school student, Carlie says: “I would never have imagined I would be in a management role for the Defense industry.” But sometimes what’s right for us is not always the first thing we think of:
“My advice would be to take the opportunities that interest you, even if they’re outside your comfort zone.”
#8. They have excellent benefits
As well as flexible working and the “increasing career development opportunities available as the company continues to grow,” there are a range of other “attractive benefits” on offer to Rheinmetall employees. Designed to keep teams engaged, recognized, and rewarded, these include paid volunteer days, community engagement activities, and an Employee Assistance Program including Crisis Counselling, Financial Consultations, Nutritional Consultations, Wellbeing Coaching and Legal Consultations.
Rheinmetall offers 2 paid volunteer days as well as the opportunity to take part in fundraising activities for their charity of choice, Legacy.
Find out more about this and Rheinmetall’s other employee benefits.
#9. You’ll experience trust and autonomy
Carlie’s role covers a variety of areas of responsibility, including management of the Adelaide operations, managing client relationships, employee wellbeing, project delivery and business stability and growth. Being trusted to perform in her role independently is an aspect of working at Rheinmetall that Carlie really values:
“The level of trust within my team and my own Manager is the thing I enjoy most about working here. The team in our Adelaide office make it a stand-out place to work. I find the autonomy we are given, and the empowered work environment very motivating.”
#10. You can be your true self
Perhaps most importantly of all, working at Rheinmetall has allowed Carlie to be her true self. She has found that it is in being our authentic selves and appreciating each other’s unique perspectives that the most creative solutions can be found.
“I’d describe myself as nurturing and a bit introverted. I like to take a holistic view and will generally seek to explore a range of options to meet outcomes. Whilst it’s easier said than done, believing in yourself goes a long way to reducing stress and eliminating doubt.”
Carlie has discovered that leaning into your unique skill set and trusting in yourself are the secret to professional success and a happier work-life balance. At Rheinmetall, she has found the perfect fit.