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Tips & Advice

Supporting and Encouraging Women in Construction

In 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up 10% of construction industry workers. Up until now, the industry has done a poor job of reaching out to women and minorities and encouraging them to pursue a career in construction. And with a severe labor shortage in the industry, now is the time to act.

In 2021, Levelset, a mechanics lien processing company, surveyed 1,001 women in the construction industry about their experiences. One of the biggest frustrations for women is the lack of opportunity for advancement. “The glass ceiling is very real for smart women in technical positions,” said a manager for a California general contractor.

Women also feel that they aren’t respected as much as their male counterparts, especially in the field. “I am very good at my job and I do it well,” said one office administrator who works for a general contractor in Minnesota, “but in this industry, I am spoken to like a child a lot of the time. It’s assumed I don’t know what I’m doing and that is very frustrating. I love this industry and I see potential for so much growth and I really want to be a part of that, but it’s going to take a long time to shift the thinking that this is just a man’s industry.”

According to the survey, 59% said fewer than 1 in 20 women are in leadership roles where they work. That translates to less than 5% of leaders in the construction industry being women. “At all the jobs I have held in construction the opportunity to advance has been limited because the CFO has always been married to or has been somehow related to the owner of the company,” said an administrative assistant for a subcontractor in South Carolina. “It limits growth in the traditionally women-held jobs in construction.”

The events of the past year and a half brought the subject of inclusion and diversity to the forefront for the nation. Looking at the statistics above, it’s clear we still have a long way to go before we can claim to have a diverse workforce. The good news is, there are concrete steps that we can take today to encourage women to become a part of the industry.

Encourage diversity in contracts

In federal and state-funded projects, minority and women-owned businesses are given preference over other contractors and suppliers. Contractors are encouraged to reach out to minority-owned businesses to solicit bids. Some projects even have quotas that have to be met when it comes to contracting with minority companies. Some companies, like McDonald’s, are asking contractors to report their use of minority-owned companies on construction projects.

Expanding these requirements to use minority contractors and suppliers for private projects would encourage contractors to hire more minority companies. Some project owners, like the City of Portland, also track the gender and ethnicity of workers on site, encouraging diversity in field crews as well.

Support professional development

To encourage women to advance in their positions, companies should offer professional development opportunities to expand their skill sets. These opportunities could include workshops, classes, or on-the-job training. There are many organizations that provide professional development for women, like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). With chapters across the nation, women can participate in local, regional, and national conferences to learn more about the industry and the latest trends.

Mortenson’s Business Development Manager – Community Engagement, Alejandra Spray says, “We start identifying those people who show potential and want to keep growing. We identify people not based on their present title, but how hard they are working, how they rally the troops, how they inspire others, and if they have the desire to be more.” By identifying good workers early, they can be encouraged and taught the skills they need to continue moving up to positions with more responsibility.

Support networking opportunities

Meeting other women in the industry is beneficial for women at all levels. Networking allows them to learn more about the possibilities in their field and about how other companies handle issues and their processes. The key to getting the most out of these groups is to participate. When workers get involved in events, fundraisers, and other activities, they learn new skills, such as public speaking and leadership. They also benefit from getting involved in their community.

There are many professional organizations for workers in different skill sets, like engineers and architects, construction financial managers, women in trades, and unions. Other networking groups include local marketing groups, chambers of commerce, charity boards, and other volunteer opportunities.

Support mentoring programs

Mentorship is key for women who wish to advance their careers. It offers the opportunity for support and someone to challenge them to meet their career goals. “Mentorship is really a key part of the success of women in the industry,” said Anne Pfleger, President of the National Association of Women in Construction. “[Mentoring] can rejuvenate your career at any stage, it improves your personal productivity, it strengthens leadership skills, and it also increases career satisfaction.”

If women are unable to find suitable mentors within their company, management should help them locate groups or individuals that could help them along their career path. Companies should support regular mentor meetings and provide professional opportunities to help them meet their career goals.

Keep making progress

Above all, construction companies need to continue moving the needle when it comes to encouraging a diverse workforce. We need to continue to look for ways to attract and engage women in the industry.

“We are all human and we all want to succeed,” says Mortensen’s Spray. “I hope we can get to that place because I just love this industry. I love driving downtown and telling my kids I was part of that project, or when one of my mentees gets a promotion. There are so many rewards in the industry, and I’m going to keep fighting for more people to be given the opportunity to see the benefits of those rewards.”

Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.

Categories
Industry Insight Resources

Best Practices For Software Implementation

Beginnings are always messy and this is often true in the Construction Industry. Especially at the start of a new project, which can make the entire project messy from day one. Through proper planning, possible pitfalls can most definitely be avoided.

The same can be said for implementing new construction software. Contractors often hesitate investing in a more efficient system – typically not due to the cost, but rather the anticipated stress associated with change management.

By applying your skills and know-how of running a successful and profitable construction project, you can avoid these common missteps when implementing a new construction software. Below are some of the most common roadblocks and related best practices to curb them.

1. Begin with a Plan

When you purchase a new construction software package, approach the implementation process the same way you would approach a new job – with a solid plan. Tap into the resources of your software provider in order to develop a logical and effective implementation strategy in order to be successful. They have helped thousands of clients before you, so with an open mind, allow them to be your trusted partner throughout the process.

2.  Define Success

Success is more than simply having the system up and running. Look deeper into defining what success is. What procedures have you found that haven’t worked with your current software and how can those procedures be improved? Identify these measurements of success at the onset of implementing new software.

3.  Assign a Project Manager Lead

Typically, you wouldn’t begin a new job without a Project Manager, so do not start a software transition without one. Ensure you have a dedicated Project Manager on board from your company and ensure they play a substantial role during the implementation process. Ultimately, the Project Manager will be one of the champions during start to finish of implementation and further on.

4.  Review Old Procedures

The main reason for changing software packages is to increase productivity and profitability. In order to increase this, it is important to review old procedures in order to make the necessary adjustments. Spend the time up front to establish a more standardized structure for all of your jobs and overall operations within your company.

5.  Review Outdated Information

Before switching over to your new software provider, review all of your records. By eliminating duplicate vendors, evaluating outstanding items and updating employee information – you can start with a clean set of data, which will help you when developing new procedures or tweaking existing ones.

6.  Approach Implementation in Phases

Transitioning over to a new software package should be approached in phases, just like a job. Map out each phase along with your software provider and share this with your team leads. By approaching this in phases, it will keep your staff from feeling overwhelmed as you move throughout implementation because you are giving them time to learn the basics before adding more complex functionality.

7.  Stay Positive and take Advantage!

Implementing new software can come with a bag of changing emotions – excitement, dread, frustration and impatience. Change can be difficult but remaining positive and taking advantage of the support your software provider is arming you with, will make all the difference! Keep an open line of communication between yourself and your team, as well as the software provider. Increase your knowledge base and overall efficiency by taking advantage of any additional resources, webinars and much more. Most importantly, take a hands on approach to training in order to utilize the software to is maximum ability.

Change is necessary for growth. Set expectations early on and approach the brand new implementation process with a solid strategy!

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Uncategorized

AGC Conference 2016 San Antonio!

On behalf of the Jonas Premier Team, we would like to thank all of the amazing men and woman who came to visit our booth. Every year it truly amazes us how incredible an industry that we have the pleasure of working in! Thank you all so much for your valuable time and the amazing conversations.

 

Don’t forget to wear your Hard Hats when on site….SAFETY FIRST!!!

We’ll see all you lovely people next year at AGC 2017.

 

With Great Respect,

The Premier Team.

Categories
Industry Insight Mobile Resources Trends & Technology

Jonas Premier Favored for Contract Management by Capterra

In a recently published article for Capterra, Content Marketing Analyst, Rachel Burger ranked Jonas Premier in the top 10 best constructions software packages for contract management. Citing Premiers unlimited document storage, ease of use and reputation for customer service excellence as defining features, Burger went on to explain that the criteria used in narrowing down her extensive list of candidates consisted of: Is the software industry-specific? Is it applicable for commercial construction? Are there contract management features, and ease of use.

As a provider of fully integrated Construction Project Management and Accounting Software, Jonas Premier offers cutting edge cloud based software for today’s contractors. With complete access to your data from the office, job site, and even the airport, you can make the right decisions for your business at all times. Good bye Citrix, good bye VPN, and welcome to safer, faster software.

 

About Capterra:

Capterra is a website that offers unbiased third party software advice and reviews, you can check them out here.

Rachel Burger is a Content Marketing Analyst, and you can check out some of her writing here.

Categories
Accounting Industry Insight Mobile Trends & Technology

Mobility in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is one of the largest and oldest industries in North America. In some areas it is at the forefront of innovation, and yet is oddly still hesitant to progress in others.  In today’s modern era of construction there are few features that can give as great of an advantage as mobility.

As mentioned in an article on Wired.com , the ability to access live data on the go allows Project Managers, Architects and Engineers to effectively operate multiple projects simultaneously and increase productivity during travel and out of office visits.

So what exactly is a mobile solution? Well for starters, it’s a system that when implemented, allows you hassle free access to live data in any setting and across multiple platforms I.E. your laptop and mobile device. True cloud based software allows you to enter live data and update on the go which ensures that everyone on your team is in sync and up-to-date. Cloud based Accounting and Project Management software provides you access to your data anytime, anywhere, on any device.

With current technology, it is very simple to implement a mobile solution for your construction business of any size.  Devices like the Microsoft Surface or the Chuwi ci8 Plus are capable of running full versions of Microsoft windows which gives you access to the full functionality of software that is too complex for a smartphone, while also maintaining the portability and ease of use of a tablet.  In addition to cloud based software, there are also Mobile Apps that will allow subcontractors to do time entry, daily job logs, and photo captures from the field that update to your projects in real time.

The time to take your business mobile is now. It is 2016 and there is no excuse to limit your own productivity or the productivity of those you employ, to traditional Construction Project Management and Accounting systems. The demands of today’s construction industry are higher than they have ever been before – Mobile Solutions represent the best way to reach new possibilities.