- The low number of women working within the supply chain or procurement, from entry level to management, is examined in an opinion piece in Procurious, published on Wednesday.
- The author suggests that while sexism does still exist, differing career goals and self-perception also form part of the reason women remain the minority within the field.
- Just as with millennials, the industry in general needs to reach out to women and share the benefits and rewards of working in procurement.
According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2010, 28% of women were employed in manufacturing, while 23% worked in transportation. Retail consumed almost half of working women at 46%. Yet, jumping ahead to 2014, only 7% of top leadership roles in procurement were occupied by women.
Not everyone perceives a vastly uneven playing field, however. Some argue the main issue seems to be awareness of opportunity, rather than deliberate measures to prevent women from succeeding. Procurement is simply unfamiliar to many women, and therefore not considered as a viable source of opportunity. Exactly why that is remains unclear, since numerous alleged female traits involving communication, negotiation, and relationship-building are highly valued within procurement.
The key may be awareness. With the number of jobs going unfilled growing every year, employers can't afford to allow their field to go unrecognized as a rewarding source of employment and success. Procurement professionals need to enact the same measures as manufacturers: attending job fairs, offering training scholarships, and sending procurement professionals into schools to get the attention of women.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to promote procurement to women is to present it as it is: engaging and fast-moving, and as a place where they can succeed.
But doing so may be easier said than done. After all, many companies lack the pipeline to encourage diversity in the workforce, and the lack of women in leadership roles leads to a lack of role models and mentors to follow. Fortunately, groups like AWESOME and Procurious' Bravo aim to fill this mentorship gap by providing the research and forum for women to share concerns, tips and advance their careers.