As we approach International Women’s Day 2023, we want to take a moment to celebrate the achievements of women in the construction industry and to recognise the work that still needs to be done to #embraceequity.
Challenge the norm by changing the behaviour
At Premier Cranes & Rigging, we are proud to have a diverse workforce that includes women in field-based roles, at the forefront of the business and key decision-making such as leadership roles.
One of our values is to #EmbraceEquity, which means treating everyone equally and without discrimination on the basis of gender or any other factor.
To put this value into practice, we have taken a number of steps to promote female participation and to create a welcoming environment for women at all levels of our organisation by establishing a level playing field.
For example, in 2022, we introduced a new type of parental leave policy for fathers, that also supports women who are returning to work after having a child.
However, as per this year’s IWD campaign theme, “Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.”
That’s why at Premier we have recruited new female field employees and created opportunities for women to advance into leadership roles such as one of our Financial Controllers, Susan Heard, and our Chief Executive Officer, Chi Shankar.
Meanwhile, our field crew includes four female employees, with more roles at the forefront of the business also undertaken by females across the Marketing & Safety departments.
We believe that empowering women in construction will not only improve the experiences and opportunities for women in the industry, but it will also bring new perspectives, ideas, and solutions to the table.
With a 10% growth in our female participation across the company in the last 4 years, we challenge everyone in the construction industry to join us in this effort and help empower more women to make a difference in this field.
A few words from our employees
As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we want to hear from some of our female team members about their experiences and perspectives. Here are some of the highlights.
Susan, Financial Controller
Susan joined Premier last year as a Management Accountant. Starting back to full-time work after 10 years part-time, to raise her family, she displayed immense dedication to improve processes and results across the finance team.
As a result, she was recently promoted to become our “Financial Controller” where she leads the systematic alignment of financial planning, analysis, budgeting, and internal controls.
“Can you share with us your journey into leadership within the company and what qualities you think helped you succeed in your role”
“As I reflect on my career path, I appreciate my current position due to the experiences I’ve gained along the way. I’ve had the privilege of working under various leaders, some of whom have taught me valuable lessons, while others have shown me how not to lead.
I’ve been told that I have a strong voice, but am not tough enough, and this feedback has contributed to the collage of experiences that have shaped how I want to be perceived today.
My goal is to build a strong team where everyone contributes, works hard, and shares the workload to achieve success that can be celebrated by all.
I believe that listening is a critical component of this process, and I strive to listen attentively and find solutions that ease workloads and promote success. To me, listening is not just words, but action.
I trust in myself and my training and experience to contribute to Premier and make a difference. The leadership here has empowered me to initiate processes and changes that can provide clarity and reduce workloads.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such great people who share the goal of making this company successful.
In the construction industry, adaptability and agility are key traits needed to create the desired outcomes. I value feedback and see it as an opportunity to further my development and grow as a leader and a person.”– Susan Heard
Lily broke barriers by becoming the first female rigger to join Premier’s field workforce.
With previous experience working for another crane company, she was well-versed in the construction industry. Lily was looking for a company that prioritised safety and a team that demonstrated the same values.
She found both at Premier. Currently, Lily is working on several critical projects that Premier is engaged in.
Her contributions make her an integral member of the field crew team.
“As Premier’s 1st female rigger, how was the beginning of our journey with us?”
“When I joined Premier Cranes & Rigging as the first female rigger, I wasnt nervous at all.
Premier had the best reputation going around, and were willing to take a chance on me. I knew I would be in good hands. And I am!
The introduction into the team and the support network they provided me with, further solidified I’d made the best choice by joining Premier.
The emphasis for further up skilling has also been extremely encouraging. The entire team has been supportive and welcoming, and I feel like I have really found my place here.
I am proud to have lead the way for other females joining our company and be part of a company that values diversity, inclusion & supports my professional growth.”– Lily
Renee, Field Crew Trainee
Renee is one of the most recent females to join our field crews as a trainee. Having come from a completely different background in the beauty industry, here is what she has to say about the beginning of her journey in cranes & construction.
“What has been the most surprising part about being a woman working in construction?”
“The most surprising thing is how willing everyone is on site to teach and instruct in a kind and helpful manner instead of just trying to do it for us.
Going into the trade industry as a woman, I was expecting the guys to be quite impatient when it came to us trainees but I can’t speak highly enough of all the guys.
Premier Cranes definitely has a great crew and it clearly shows in the employees skills and knowledge.”– Renee
Claire, Field Crew Trainee
Claire, an experienced hairdresser, was forced to consider a career change when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
She found an opportunity to work on a major infrastructure project as a peggy, where she discovered a growing fascination with crane operations.
With her father working as a rigger in the industry, Claire was drawn to Premier Cranes and decided to pursue a traineeship with them due to the company’s excellent reputation and culture.
“Why did you choose Premier Cranes to do your start off your career in construction?”
“I chose Premier Cranes to start my career in construction because of the company’s reputation for quality, safety & #TeamLifting culture.
What I enjoy the most about working here is the sense of teamwork and support.
Everyone is encouraged to learn and grow, regardless of their gender or background.”– Claire
Chi Shankar, Chief Executive Officer
Chi Shankar was recently recognised by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), where she was awarded “Outstanding Achievement by a Businesswoman” as she has had an enormous impact since joining Premier 4 years ago resulting in demonstrated economic growth & workforce wellbeing.
From Chi’s strategic planning in building the business to scale, capable of leading the current infrastructure boom, she helped grow Premier from a handful of staff to a 3-level office, yard to a second depot with 160 team members.
Throughout Chi’s executive leadership as our COO and now CEO, the business turnover increased by 53%. Chi helped achieve this by transforming the business structure and culture!
Referred to as the “overall standout winner across the VIC award categories” by NAWIC, she was selected as the Victorian state finalist for the President’s Choice award.
“How does equality & equity translate into Premier’s world?”
“My definition of equality vs equity in the workplace is that most businesses demonstrate equality as employers, hiring both men and women that fit the strict prerequisites of the role.
Equity is the open mindedness to consider diverse attributes define a successful employee, and tailoring our development of individuals to help them progress in their career.
Premier is a strong advocate for providing opportunities for employees to progress internally within our organisation.
Most of our leadership have been organically developed into their role, rather than solely chosen based on their past qualifications upon entry to an organisation.
I, myself, may not possess the traditional attributes to qualify as a CEO of a crane company, however I have been embraced, supported and purposely developed at Premier to find success in my role.”– Chi Shankar
The IWD community says, “We can all truly embrace equity. It’s not just something we say.
It’s not just something we write about. It’s something we need to think about, know, value and embrace. It’s what we believe in, unconditionally. Equity means creating an inclusive world.”
We are proud of our female team members and the contributions they not only make towards Premier Cranes, but to the construction industry as a whole.
We look forward to continuing our efforts to promote gender equity, challenge gender-related stereotypes, and to make a positive difference for women in construction.
Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day 2023 and in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace #TeamLifting