2020 has seen the highest rate of women top corporate supply chain positions then ever before. Retail and consumer goods have shown the largest leadership growth so far, these findings from Gartner’s 2020 Women in Supply Chain Survey are a great prompt to endorse more women to start a career in the logistics industry.
According to Gartner’s report, supply chains have had a 6 per cent increase of women chief supply chain officers compared to 2016, 17 per cent in total for 2020.
The Australian supply chain, freight forwarding, and logistics workforce is still considered to be an ageing, male dominated business. Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, Dana Stiffler said the increase in women executive leaders over the past year is an encouraging sign, though the survey showed the increase is not consistent.
“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,” she said.
The Australian logistics and transport industry have had to rapidly adjust and adapt to challenges presented by COVID-19, the pandemic has highlighted the significance of efficient supply chains. Calls for young women to get into the logistics industry as of 2017, only 20 per cent of people working in the wider transport industry are women.
Women at vice president level in consumer goods and retail supply chain make up 25 per cent of organisations’ representation, which is nearly twice more than industrial organisations.
Gartner confirmed that an explanation for this progress is that 55 per cent of industrial organisations favor a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degree for senior hires, in comparison to 39 per cent of consumer organisations.
“Another notable difference between industrial and consumer/retail supply chain organisations is goal setting. Consumer and retail organisations were more than twice as likely to have formal targets and specific goals in management scorecards for gender diversity,” the Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice said.
Since 2019, there are proportionately less women at vice president and director levels.
In 2020, out of those surveyed, 63 per cent of companies said they have active goals, to employ women and build pipelines, though this task can take many years to strengthen pipeline activities. This also adds to the representation of women in the supply chain workforce staying unchanged at 39 per cent year over year.
Up until a short time ago, gender-concentrated inclusion and diversity initiatives centred mainly on employee resource groups or women’s leadership training courses.
Organisations still value these programs, Gartner’s findings concluded that improved pipeline organisation and management is a crucial factor to attract and retain diverse abilities in leadership positions.
“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,” Dana said.
“However, 21 per cent claim that integrated pipeline planning is their best approach. This reinforces what we have found over the years: The right place to focus for diverse senior leadership is the pipeline and the decisions that support it.”