Creating more career paths for women
It is no secret that supply chain management has been historically a male-driven career path. Within the profession, women face obstacles to be recognized and receive promotions at the same rate of their male colleagues. But as organizational investment in gender equity becomes more widespread, we’re seeing a welcome shift — in 2016, women made up 35% of the total supply chain workforce; in 2021, that number rose to 41%, according to Gartner research. Organizations can continue to close the gap by focusing on retaining and elevating women within the supply chain industry through constant and positive leadership, valuable learning and networking opportunities, and influential mentorship.
The 2022 International Women’s Day’s theme, #BreaktheBias, calls for championing workplace diversity and inclusion, breaking biases that create barriers to career success and satisfaction, developing individualized and creative ways of working, and fostering a community environment. As the supply chain industry continues to gain traction at the center of business, it’s becoming a key organizational focus.
“It used to be that supply chain was ‘last to know, first to go,’” said Ben YoKell, National Sourcing & Supply Chain leader at Grant Thornton. “It was at the receiving end of business requirements, often with minimal integration with the commercial strategy, with last-minute logistics moves, frequent manufacturing schedule changes within the ‘frozen’ period, and spot market procurements as the rule rather than the exception.
“However, supply chain has gone through a major transformation in the last two decades — particularly in the last two years. Not only does supply chain (now more broadly understood to include forecasting, planning, sourcing, contracting, vendor management, manufacturing, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, logistics and returns) have a seat at the table; in many cases it now is the table. The ability to efficiently and effectively orchestrate the flow of goods, services and information between external commercial partners and internal areas of an enterprise is at the very heart of modern business strategy enablement and resulting financial performance.”
By taking the following actions to attract, retain and elevate women within the supply chain industry, your organization can make progress in breaking the bias.