How can retail advance more women to leadership supply chain roles?
Women currently make up a greater percentage of chief supply chain executive officers, chief procurement officers, senior vice presidents and executive vice presidents than at any time in the past four years, according to research from Gartner.
At the present time, 17 percent of executive positions in supply chain operations are held by women, a six percent increase over last year and the highest level since the consultancy began tracking gender diversity in 2016. This year’s “Women in Supply Chain Survey” included responses from 177 supply chain professionals.
“The increase in women executive leaders over the past year is a positive sign, however the survey showed that women don’t consistently make it through the pipeline,” said Dana Stiffler, vice president analyst with the Gartner supply chain practice. “Lack of progress is not something the industry can afford at the moment. Supply chain’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery is crucial, with lives and livelihoods at stake. This is a pivotal time for many women in mid-level and senior management positions.”
Gartner found that the numbers of women in first-line supply chain manager and supervisor roles dropped from 33 percent to 31 percent year-over year. There were also declines in senior managers (29 percent to 25 percent), directors (27 percent to 23 percent), and vice presidents and senior directors (28 percent to 21 percent).
Women now account for about 39 percent of the supply chain workforce, with retail and consumer goods organizations offering some of the best opportunities forward. The percentage of women at the vice president level in retail and consumer product industries stands at 25 percent, nearly double industrial organizations, which frequently hire individuals with educational and work experience in science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds.
“Another notable difference between industrial and consumer/retail supply chain organizations is goal setting,” said Ms. Stiffler. “Consumer and retail organizations were more than twice as likely to have formal targets and specific goals in management scorecards for gender diversity.”
Gartner’s research also found that career pipeline planning and management practices are more important to keeping women within supply chain organizations and advancing them into leadership roles than corporate diversity initiatives such as employee resource groups and women’s leadership development programs.
“Not a single respondent cited employee resource groups as a top action for progressing women to senior leadership roles in supply chain. Leadership development programs or improved work-life balance also didn’t make the list,” said Mr. Stiffler.
- Gartner Survey Reveals 17% of Chief Supply Chain Officers are Women – Gartner, Inc.
- How to Successfully Transition Into the CSCO Role – Gartner, Inc.
- How to Build a Supply Chain Planning Talent Strategy – Gartner, Inc.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important are supply chain opportunities in helping retailers win the competition for workforce talent against other industries? What do you see as the keys to recruiting and retaining women and other underrepresented demographic groups into supply chain roles within retail?