- In an evaluation of 21 corporate departments, procurement was found to be the second-least diverse, with just 8% of respondents identifying as a person of color, according to Gartner's Labor Market Survey.
- To compare, 14% of supply chain/logistics professionals and 44% of communications professionals identified as people of color. The analysis examined more than 25,000 employee respondents' information to gauge each sector's success in "attracting and advancing candidates from diverse backgrounds."
- Beyond diversity, equity and inclusion being "the right thing to do, DEI metrics will increasingly be a part of how society, investors and the media view an organization,” Kotei Kotey, an advisory senior specialist at Gartner, said in a press release.
Despite companies' efforts to add diverse suppliers, procurement departments are not reflective of the diverse and inclusive businesses they say they want to more easily connect with.
To embody and foster diversity, companies must have senior leadership buy-in and specific steps to get there, said Shana Yearwood, a lead consultant at Impact Consulting.
"The role of leaders is vital to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in their organizations," Yearwood said. "First, leaders need to understand and articulate why diversity, equity and inclusion is vital for the future of their business."
During the pandemic, companies often turned to their procurement department — where making sure suppliers are available to meet business needs is the job — to search for diverse suppliers to shore up shortages and limitations.
Walmart hosted a virtual open call for small business suppliers, Papa John's stood up a supplier diversity program, and Coupa Software created a platform to connect large corporations to historically underutilized businesses and others. All of these initiatives were actionable steps that created an opportunity for more diverse companies to be brought into the buyer-supplier fold.
A similar strategy can be followed by procurement offices to increase diversity. But Yearwood emphasized the direction has to come from the top after they've identified the challenges specific to their organization, to then strategize for the future.
"[Leaders] play a key role in setting the tone ... in showing commitment and dedication, which may take the form of more frequent and open communication company-wide, participating in training or coaching to improve their own cultural competence and acumen, or sponsoring or mentoring the next generation of leaders," she said.
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