There have been a number of moves by governments to ensure that companies are practicing policies that promote equality in the supply chain, with large companies encouraged to partner with minority-owned and woman-owned businesses wherever possible. However, while these attempts are admirable, there remains a dearth of women in supply chain management (SCM).
In March 2016, in collaboration with research partners AWESOME and Supply Chain Media, Gartner conducted their first ever Women in Supply Chain Survey. Their study found that as the corporate ladder advances, the proportion of women leaders in the supply chain declines. While women make up 35% of the total supply chain workforce, but this falls to 13% by the time you get to VP/senior director level, and just 5% when you get to CSCO and EVP level.
This is a situation that companies are attempting to rectify, though you would be forgiven for thinking that their attempts thus far have been lackluster. The Gartner survey found that 47% are aiming to increase the number of women leaders in the supply chain, but just 16% have formal targets and specific goals.
In fairness, the problem is complex and not one that is easy for one company alone to solve. There is still a perception of SCM and logistics as a ‘masculine’ career, based primarily in warehouses with high physical demands and a more male
Another thing that companies can do better
For companies to correct such deep rooted issues requires significant resources, and they need to work together and alongside industry groups and governments to rectify the situation. There is also a clear benefit to initiatives like leadership programs for women, and mentoring schemes, that not enough companies are implementing but should. Ultimately, there are clear benefits to having women in the supply chain, and surveys have shown that companies already understand these. SCM World, for one, surveyed 147 supply chain executives across industries in mid-2013. It found that the diversity of skills a better gender balance afforded in companies’ supply chain functions was