Does A Diverse Supply Chain Workforce Help Attract More Diverse Owned Suppliers?

A diverse workforce certainly leads to natural diversity in the supply chain, as purchasing decisions are made by multiple people. And those who do not prioritize diversity among employees weaken their own competitive position, not just in procurement.

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A study from Oliver Wymann in Europe (in German), the US & Mexico, marjority from European countries though, shows that a more diverse workforce in the supply chain helps attract more creative solutions and better risk management.

Unfortunately external factors still dominate as motivation to promote diversity issues. 81 percent of the managers surveyed say that legal requirements drive their diversity strategy. Only 65 percent see diversity in the company spurred by the prospect of higher economic performance. Expert Münch warns against underestimating the potential performance gains. “Diversity is increasingly becoming a competitive factor,” he says. “Those who act hesitantly here will slow down their own growth.”

In a study from Gartner and business organization AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education), they found out, that women are occupying more senior-level positions in the supply chain. The survey of 116 companies based primarily in North America and Europe found that women continue to ascend to leadership roles across the supply chain, but their overall representation in the field declined over the past year. According to the survey data, 19% of women occupy C-level positions, up from 15% in 2021, and 34% are first-line managers or supervisors, up from 33% last year. In comparison, 21% of women occupy VP-level roles, down from 23% last year. Overall, women comprise 39% of the total supply chain workforce in 2022, down from 41% last year, according to the survey. Source:

The development of women in the supply chain is is also confirmed in this research; there are more women in supply chain leadership roles, but a decline in the number of women in supply chain overall compared to 2021. More on it in this article from Supply Chain Quarterly:

The survey found that many women are leaving the profession mid-career, primarily due to a lack of advancement opportunities, compensation concerns, and the need for greater flexibility. What can companies do to avoid that? Setting formal targets that appear on management scorecards is a first step to start moving the needle.

****Also check out this Wall Street Journal Article to the same topic (subscription only) – Summary; Study examines role of gender in logistics industry; Research conducted by the University of Arkansas and the University of Akron found that women in retailer roles were much less likely than their male counterparts to inflate product demand forecasts and females in supplier roles were less apt to underproduce products compared to male peers. While the study was based on a simulation, it points to the need for greater gender diversity within the supply-chain environment, says Katie Date, leader of the Women in Supply Chain Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics. Link:

Are you looking for more women in your procurement organization? Here’s another great article how you can attract more women for your procurement organization in Spend Matters.

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