Global Versions
Select your location:


Select your language:
  • English
  • English

Breaking down barriers #IWD2024

Swisslog’s Ella Shakeri encourages more women to enter STEM and automation fields

Swisslog System Design Engineer, Ella Shakeri

Swisslog System Design Engineer, Ella Shakeri, is encouraging more women to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs in general, and in particular her chosen field of career satisfaction, warehouse automation.

According to a 2023 report by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources, women make up only 37% of university enrolments in STEM courses, and only 15% of STEM-qualified jobs are held by women.

The report also showed that women’s participation in STEM fields in Australia is increasing year-on-year, which Ella says will benefit industry more broadly.

“The world of warehouse automation is a rapidly growing and dynamic industry that requires constant adaptation to meet evolving needs. By embracing a more diverse range of perspectives, we can drive innovation and better meet the complex needs of the future. It is through this diversity of thought that we will be able to develop new solutions and stay ahead of the curve in this exciting field.”

“The theme for International Women’s Day in 2024 is ‘Inspire Inclusion’ and I believe that is the ideal way to pave the way for the future, break down barriers, and encourage more women to join STEM careers, and be a part of new innovations.”

Ella has worked for warehousing and intralogistics leader, Swisslog, for the past two years, and in similar industries for the past seven. Her role as System Design Engineer involves working with customers to understand specific requirements and performing data analysis to design a solution that provides the best utilisation of automation technology.

Building supportive networks and expanding your knowledge are two ways Ella Shakeri has gone about advancing her career in warehouse automation

Knowledge and networks

Ella enjoys increasing her knowledge about warehouse automation, which she finds is one of the best ways to open doors and advance her career.

“Knowledge is the key to removing barriers, improving your confidence, and showcasing your value to a company, and to others,” she says.

“And warehouse automation is an exciting subject to learn about. It involves the integration of advanced technologies and robotics to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of warehouse operations, which can lead to significant cost savings and increased productivity for businesses.”

"As you expand your knowledge, it is crucial to trust in your own ideas as well. Strong ideas, built on a foundation of knowledge, are the driving force behind innovation and the creation of new solutions. By believing in your own ideas, you can make a valuable contribution to the field and help to push the boundaries of what is possible."

“One of the highlights of my role is problem-solving and thinking of new solutions. No two customers will have an identical warehouse, and every project brings a new challenge. We have a broad technology portfolio at Swisslog, so we are not bound to make a specific technology to work for every project, but rather to design an optimal solution with the right technology tailored to meet our customer’s unique requirements.”

Acknowledging past successes, and fostering an inclusive future

Ella is grateful to be working in a supportive environment with a diverse culture, where her work is valued, and says it’s important to acknowledge the work other women have done to get to this point.

“Warehouse automation is a market that can change rapidly because it’s driven by changing consumer needs. Therefore, we need to design agile solutions that can easily be configured to adjust to new market needs,” says Ella.

Swisslog fosters an inclusive work environment through a range of policies and programmes, including:
•    Leadership training programmes designed to address and mitigate biases
•    Creating a safe team environment where everyone’s ideas are heard and valued
•    Sponsorship programmes that allow a diverse workforce to build successful careers in Australia
•    Leadership accountability, with inclusion being a core value of the organisation
•    A code of conduct that promotes inclusion and embraces diversity
•    Inclusive hiring practices
•    Provision and encouragement of growth opportunities for women
•    Flexible benefits that cater to the unique needs of women
•    Creation of a female-led employee group, which is a regionally based support network for all women within Swisslog to build relationships and provide support, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

“The female-led employee group is such a great community, as it provides support for women looking to grow their network, expand their opportunities, and grow their careers,” says Ella.

"I acknowledge that the supportive environment I find myself in today is a result of the dedicated efforts of women who came before me. I am committed to continuing this legacy by playing my part in creating an even more inclusive environment for the future. By doing so, I hope to make it easier for the next generation of women to break down barriers and meaningfully contribute to the fields of automation, engineering, and software."

Swisslog is a sponsor of this year’s Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) International Women’s Day breakfast, which focuses on how corporations and individuals can embrace equity to foster sustainable growth.