Steady rise in female supply chain professionals

female supply chain professionals

The number of women working in supply chain continues to increase. Females now make up 41% of the workforce compared to 39% in 2020, according to new research from Gartner. There is evidence of this increase at every layer of leadership apart from the executive level. Women hold 15% of board-level supply chain positions this year, which is down slightly from 17% in 2020.

For Gartner’s Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021 – in partnership with Awesome – 223 supply chain organizations were surveyed in February and March of this year. The findings revealed the highest percentage of women in the supply chain workforce since the first edition of the survey in 2016.

According to Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst at Gartner, COVID-19 prompted many industries to hire additional supply chain personnel. In fact, they found themselves facing talent shortages, particularly in product supply chains. “This resulted in an increase in the percentage of women in supply chain organizations,” comments Stiffler.

Biggest challenge: retaining women

The pandemic does not appear to have disrupted gender equality efforts in supply chain. 84% of those surveyed stated that COVID-19 has had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and support the advancement of women.

However, 54% of the respondents indicated that retaining experienced female professionals is a growing challenge. A lack of career opportunities is the primary reason why these ‘mid-career’ women leave a supply chain organization or supplier.

Flexible employment policies

Stiffler offers advice for how companies can address this issue: “Supply chain leaders who are serious about gender equality need to create customized leadership development programmes and develop flexible employment policies that address the needs of mid-career women.”