Nilay Yilmaz standing in the dock looking up on a ship hull
Nilay Yilmaz standing in the dock looking up on a ship hull

Role model at the shipyard

After being turned down twice by a competing company, Nilay Yilmaz (28) landed a job in Jotun Turkey and became the first female coating advisor in the country. Now her colleagues hope to see more women at the busy shipyards.

– I work with men only and they are so kind. They teach me everything – it's like family.

Nilay Yilmaz is smiling as she describes her first three months in Jotun. The 28-year-old worked with customer support for 1.5 years in another global paint company. Then she went on to pursue other opportunities internally and applied for a technical service position.

– However, they didn't accept me. I even applied twice. I really wanted new challenges and one day I saw a job advert from Jotun that appealed to me. I applied and got the job, she explains.

Nilay Yilmaz controlling coating thickness

Her job implies visiting shipyards, supervising the application of coating on drydocked and newly built ships for both Turkish and international customers. Business is booming in the marine sector for Jotun Turkey.

Traditionally, both the shipyards and the coatings industry are highly male dominated. Nevertheless, Nilay is enjoying the hectic days with a yellow boiler suit and physical work.

– We are always very busy and do our best to handle everything. Of course, I feel a kind of responsibility. I want to show that women can have such a job, she says.

Nilay Yilmaz with her arms crossed in front of a ship hull

According to Technical Service Manager Ali Goc, Nilay has nothing to worry about in that regard.

– Because of the tough nature of our work, some of us were a bit skeptical at first. However, we quickly understood it was nothing to worry about, Ali explains.

– The physical part is no problem for Nilay. And she is a quick learner. After as little as one month, she started to work alone. That is faster than all the men in our team, he continues.

Now, Jotun Turkey is aiming to be a role model for the industry.

– Nilay is the first female coating advisor in Turkey, and she will not be the last, he says, and continues:

– We want to improve the gender balance in positions that traditionally are dominated by men. Within short, we will hire two more women in our team. In addition, we recently found out that another paints company in Turkey also is trying to recruit a woman. That means our strategy works!

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