According to a new survey from Gartner, women now make up 41% of the supply chain workforce, up from 39% in 2020. While every leadership level increased in representation, the executive had a slight drop in 2021, with women only accounting for 15% of executive roles, down from 17% in 2020.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," said Dana Stiffler, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organizations but increasing their representation in organizations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
While the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disrupted many industries, it did not disrupt efforts in the supply chain to gain more gender equality. According to the survey, 84% of organizations claimed that the pandemic had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women.
Still, 54% of respondents said that retaining mid-career women continues to be a challenge as women have cited “lack of career opportunities” for reasons of leaving a supply chain organization or provider. The second-most selected option was development opportunities.
- In 2021, the proportion of supply chain organizations with any type of goal jumped to 73% from 64% in 2020. Within the subset of respondents (29%) who have stated objectives, 68% said the supply chain organization had a targeted initiative focused on women, a huge step up from 46% in 2020.