In 2019, a survey, conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn, asked employees about their first promotion to management. It was found that for every 100 men getting their first promotion, just 72 women were promoted. Gender equality in the workplace has caught more awareness nowadays since women are seeking equal recognition as men.

From the beginning of the establishment of EP, the DNA of gender equality has been deep-rooted in the brand. John He, the founder of EP, started the company along with three partners in 1993. The core four, two men and two women, fostered a positive work environment at the heart of the business. Sang Tian, one of the female partners, has taken charge of the global business team for the last 4 years. The global business department continues to expand and new international subsidiaries go into service in Europe, the U.S. and Thailand. In 2020, EP Equipment ranked the top 16 material handling equipment manufacturer worldwide.

( The group picture of John and the three core partners celebrating the Hangzhou head office opening in 2005, from left: Sang Tian, Jack Huang, John He, Vivien Wei )

At EP Equipment, especially in the global business department, female staff accounts for nearly 40% and female managers seize approximately 60% among the managerial level. Compared to the manufacturing peers, EP builds up a more female-friendly workplace and more women are conceded in leadership. We have interviewed several female employees to share their working experiences and feelings from different positions at EP.

(International Business Team gathering, by 2021.04 )

As EU Regional Sales Manager, Ivone’s growth reflects the maturity of female power in the workplace. Ivone started her journey in material handling by majoring in engineering and then finding an entry-level job at EP Equipment. Her skills have brought great success to her career: forging successful relationships with dealers due to her considerate mind and interpersonal skills, developing projects and strategies smoothly by her long-term vision, as well as managing sales team thanks to her excellent observation and empathetic.

She also mentioned that the ratio of women to men in sales teams at EP was nearly equal, which is rare in this industry. “ It’s hard for women to work in the material handling industry. This is a big misconception people have. EP really encourages women interested in material handling to pursue success in the industry.” said Ivone.

Tina Shi, previously worked as a test engineer and has recently has gone through a job alteration and now is responsible for technical issues in product launching and upgrading for then European market. Talking about her work transfer, Tina said that it was an adventure about taking challenges actively. She heard of the job vacancy by chance and then expressed her wish to the superior. After evaluation of her technical and communication skills, Tina got the opportunity. She said,” There is no stereotype or contempt for female engineers at EP. Everyone will be evaluated objectively despite of genders and be allocated suitable work. It’s totally different from my former experience. I do find out where I truly belong and my value is recognised at EP.”

EP Equipment not only takes female visibility as priority, but also insists in taking care of women’s demands on product design – although material handling continues to be a male-dominated industry. Years ago, EP President John He visited a logistics company and was impressed that in the warehouse almost every female worker put a small bench on the driver seat to adapt to the big truck. Deeply inspired by this, President He and EP’s R&D team designed a specialised pallet truck for petite Asian women, EPT20-SR, which has been upgraded to RPL201 now. EP contributes to giving added confidence and constant support to women in the heavy-duty workplace.

Speaking with the Administration Manager Cindy Xie, also a mother of two children, she said,” When Women’s Day comes, EP offers a half-day-holiday benefit to female staff although this is not mandatory in the labor law. We also prepare sweeties or gifts for festival celebrating. In addition, female staff who are on maternity leave from work can apply to EP Labor Union for extra benefits and medicaid. Female staff deserve these benefits because EP definitely recognises their ability and values their role within the business.” Also Cindy introduced an unwritten rule in EP: employees are allowed to take their children to office if they occasionally need. She said it did help her to achieve a healthy work-family balance.Then Cindy Xie shared more about her experience at EP Equipment over the last decade. During her pregnancy and maternity leave, she obtained support and help from her superior and colleagues in a friendly working atmosphere. The superior took her will of self-promotion carefully rather than discouraged her passion on work. She felt fully respected and recognised in terms of her career development, without exiting the workplace or downshifting due to fertility.

Xiaoyan Jiang, Human Resources Manager, showed ”When interviewing job candidates, they will be evaluated on their skills, education background, and experience. It’s the most important to recognise whether they are fully compatible with the positions, rather than filtering by genders.” She said,”The same as any internal promotion, award or salary given.”

(Left: Ms Xie was awarded EP Excellent Internal Trainer in 2019.)

(Upper right: Tina was awarded the third prize at EP annual meeting, 2020.(Right first) )

It is a good start for both genders to be equally recognised in staff and leadership in workplace nowadays.

“EP Equipment is proudly part of the movement to raise the profile of females and to remove the impact of unconscious gender biases preventing women from being undermined in the material handling industry.” said Sang Tian, the senior VP of EP Group.