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Women Making Gains at Top of Supply Chain Org Chart, Gartner Study Finds


Now 17% of Chief Supply Chain Officers, Up from 2019

July 27, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Women represent 17% of chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) in 2020, up from 11% in 2019, according to a new study from the analysts at Gartner.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


Gartner notes the survey results found that "integrated pipeline planning" was the top action supply chain leaders should take to progress women into top roles.

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This was the fifth annual study, and it was conducted in partnership with an organization called AWESOME, a U.S.-based non-profit organization focused on advancing women's supply chain leadership. The Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) also helped with promoting the survey to some of its members.

In the end, the report was based on responses from 177 companies that had at least $100 million in annual revenue.

The reality is the data has been mixed across the five years of the study. While there was the nice jump in terms of women CSCOs from 2019 to 2020, as can be seen in the graphic below the data showed women were 15% of CSCMP in 2017 before falling a bit in the next two years.

As can also be seen, women as a percent of vice presidents and senior directors - the pool from which they might rise to CSCO or similar position - fell to 21% in 2020 from 28% in 2019.

However, SCDigest notes with 177 responses that drop could just as easily be standard statistical variation rather than true decline in the share of women in these roles.

Gartner says his research and analysis is crucial to supply chain leaders for two reasons:

1. Women are underutilized resources in the so-called "war for talent," and research studies show that diverse teams are more innovative and perform better.

2.Women make up more than 50% of the professional workforce in most developed markets and this number is on the rise.


As always, Gartner offers some recommendations for getting more women into supply chain leadership positions.

Basics such as setting goals will help, Gartner says.

(See More Below)




"Since 2016, this survey has shown how setting goals and designing programs to achieve them generates results, specifically, more women in supply chain leadership positions," Gartner notes, adding that "In 2016, only one-third of respondents had goals in this area. Today, for the second year running, our research shows that a clear majority of supply chain organizations (63%) have specific goals to increase the number of women leaders in their ranks, up from 59% in 2019."

Pursuit of gender diversity in supply chain organizations is clearly in the mainstream, Gartner adds.

Gartner also recommends that companies work to ensure that gender stereotypes are not applied to hiring or promotion activities into executive level leadership, writing that "In order to reduce bias, define a structured assessment approach that focuses on how well a candidate aligns with the necessary capabilities, leadership style and expertise to be successful in the role."

Gartner notes the survey results found that "integrated pipeline planning" was the top action supply chain leaders should take to progress women into top roles. Culture change is the second most important action.

Gartner cites one $10 billion industrial process manufacturer as describing its women in supply chain leadership efforts this way: "It is not a leadership program or initiative - it is built into our strategies and KPIs across the function." Leaders are measured on inclusion alongside other business measures.

"Supply chain leadership has never been more crucial," Gartner concludes. "We need the best talent available to overcome this crisis and position our organizations for an uncertain future."

What are your thoughts on this analysis and data from Gartner on women in supply chain? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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