Article: The need for women leaders in supply chain

Diversity

The need for women leaders in supply chain

There is a significant underrepresentation of women in supply chain leadership roles, emphasizing the benefits of gender diversity and the need for effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives to bridge the gap between intention and execution​.
The need for women leaders in supply chain

The supply chain industry, once predominantly male, is now witnessing a remarkable shift. While women have made significant strides in recent years, achieving greater gender diversity remains a work in progress. 

Even though studies show the benefits of women in leadership roles, according to a recent Gartner survey, women constitute approximately 39% of the supply chain workforce. Still, only 25% of leadership roles in the supply chain are held by women. This underrepresentation not only limits the potential of talented women but also hinders the industry's capacity for innovation and adaptability in response to changing market demands. These women are not just closing the gender gap; they are driving innovation, particularly as the supply chain technology sector plays a crucial role in the global economy. As the industry evolves, leaders must embrace risk-taking and adapt to inevitable changes to fully leverage the benefits of diverse leadership.

Advancing gender diversity in supply chain management

Achieving gender equality and full inclusion remains a critical goal, especially in leadership roles. The drive for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in various industries has led to an increase in the presence of women in supply chain organisations, with more women assuming leadership positions than before. However, about 70% of women in technology believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) measures manifest only as a theory for the industry, revealing a concerning gap between intention and execution undertaken by the industry as marketing measures, according to a survey by Talent500.

 Even though the representation of women in supply chain management has made significant strides, Women in mid-career positions often face a lack of equal opportunities. The demanding nature of the industry and a lack of female role models may further discourage women from entering or advancing in this field. 

Companies that do take the initiative to build advancement opportunities for women can find valuable ROI. For example, women in client management and success roles excel at building strong customer relationships, resolving conflicts, and strategically managing accounts. They maintain open communication channels with clients, gather feedback, adapt to evolving client needs, and advocate for diversity and inclusion, demonstrating their commitment to driving overall success in the supply chain domain. 

Supply chain thrives on teamwork: 

In supply chain management, teamwork is crucial. A lack of collaboration can lead to delays and disruptions. It is proven that companies with collaborative supplier relationships are more profitable. The unique perspectives of women in supply chain management can challenge traditional approaches by bringing innovation, such as automation technologies, and adaptability to industry changes. As supply chain leaders, we should prioritise gender equality programs to reduce bias and support women's career advancement.

Essential skill sets encompass data analytics, technological proficiency, domain knowledge, and leadership skills to break into the supply chain. Success in the industry requires women to embody resilience, embrace challenges, and maintain a growth mindset. As supply chain complexity increases, fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce becomes increasingly important. 

To create a workplace that is welcoming and diverse, companies should consider implementing strategies like: 

  • Actively recruiting a diverse workforce and providing training on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as creating groups like Employee Resource Groups and mentorship programs to help underrepresented employees advance in their careers. .,mnhhg
  • Making sure everyone is treated fairly by checking in regularly and having clear pay practices.
  • Promoting a culture that values diversity through inclusive leadership training and recognition programs. 
  • Using technology, such as resumes without names and feedback systems without bias, to make the workplace more inclusive. 

The increasing number of female graduates in supply chain management is a positive trend, but it's essential to sustain support throughout their careers. Bridging the remaining gap requires nurturing internal talent and providing training and opportunities within each supply chain organisation. This industry offers abundant opportunities for those aspiring to make a difference, particularly for transformative female leaders.

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Topics: Diversity, Culture, #IndustryInsights

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