The research firm says representation of women improved at the first-line manager/supervisor, senior manager and director levels of the supply chain organization.
In 2022, women account for 19% of C-level positions in the average supply chain organization, up from 15% in 2021, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. and AWESOME. However, women comprise 21% of VP-level roles, a decrease from 23% last year, and 39% of the total supply chain workforce are women, down from 41% in 2021.
“Chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) remain committed to gender diversity, but this survey suggests that they will need to double-down on goal setting, leadership inclusion and career-pathing for women,” said Caroline Chumakov, senior principal analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, in a press release.
“Compared to the last year, representation of women in supply chain has improved at the first-line manager/supervisor, senior manager and director levels of the supply chain organization, as well as at the senior-most level: the C-suite,” Chumakov added.
The Bigger, the Better
In the 2022 Women in Supply Chain Survey Reveals Mid-Pipeline Progress and Global Organizational Prowess report, Gartner identified a relationship between organizational size and purposeful goal setting, which is driving improved representation of women in supply chain.
Nearly 50% of medium and large organizations ($100 million to $5 billion) have no objectives to increase the number of women leaders in their supply chain. However, 83% of the largest, global organizations ($5 billion+) have a stated objective to improve representation of women in leadership and 38% have incorporated formal targets that appear on management scorecards.
“Global organizations have better pipelines and better representation of women of underrepresented races and ethnicities,” said Chumakov. “They are also significantly more likely to have these women in a director position than medium or large organizations.”
Other key findings include:
- Women comprise 39% of the total supply chain workforce, a slight drop from 41% in 2021.
- Representation of women improved at the first-line manager/supervisor, senior manager and director levels of the supply chain organization.
- 43% of respondents said the pandemic had a negative impact on the retention and advancement of women in supply chain organizations over the past year. Lack of career opportunity is the most cited reason for the departure of midcareer women for a second year in a row.
- Women of underrepresented races and ethnicities comprise 19% of supply chain organizations, an increase from 14% in 2021.
- 70% of responding supply chain organizations have a diversity, equity and inclusion objective to attract, develop, retain and advance women.
- 28% of those organizations have specific goals and leadership accountability.
Measuring the Pandemic Impacts
According to the survey, 43% of supply chain leaders say the pandemic has had a net negative impact in the retention and progression of women in supply chain organizations over the past year. This is a significant uptick compared to the 2021 survey, where only 11% said there was a negative impact.
Over half of end-user organizations state retaining midcareer women is an increasing challenge, with an additional 19% indicating it is a significant challenge. Gartner says the top reason that midcareer women are leaving is due to a lack of career or advancement opportunities—an increase from last year’s responses. “The fastest-climbing response is that women are seeking greater or more competitive compensation,” it says, “coming in at second place with 43% of responses, up from 24% of responses in 2021.”
Pay Gap Issues
Gartner says financial implications remain largely unaddressed by supply chain organizations, and that only half of them have a targeted initiative focused on improving benefit offerings for women or closing the pay gap. Among those end-user organizations who say it is an objective, 27% report that they have a specific plan to close the gender pay gap.
“While 14% of end-user organizations stated they’ve already achieved pay equity, it is concerning that 59% of respondents have no action plan to close the gap,” Chumakov said. “In today’s hypercompetitive labor market where women are increasingly seeking out pay increases and ethical employers, these data points reveal a hidden attraction and retention risk.”
Gartner’s Women in Supply Chain survey was conducted online from February 24 through March 28, 2022, among 116 respondents primarily in North America. Of the 116 respondents, 85 were end-user organizations with internal supply chains, and 31 were supply chain business services and solutions. Organizations also had to have a minimum of $100 million in annual revenue.