Supply chain & procurement gender bias 'rampant' finds study

A study from Procurious -- an online supply chain & procurement network -- finds 74% of women experience gender-based workplace adversity

Research from a leading online business network for supply chain and procurement professionals says gender-based adversity is common in the industry, affecting 74% of women surveyed.

Procurious has 40,000 members in 145 countries, and offers career help through a programme of networking, learning, events and collaborative discussions.

Its latest research – Women in Procurement and Supply Chain: Against The Odds – finds that women in the workplace routinely experience gender-based adversity that includes:

  • Men taking credit for their work or ideas
  • Discovering they are paid less than their male counterparts
  • Having to perform admin work outside of their role more than male counterparts
  • Struggling to “get air time” in virtual meetings

“Women endure innumerable micro-aggressions and challenges daily,” says Tania Seary, founding chairman and CEO of Procurious

“Although women are making gains in the workforce, and although forward-thinking organisations are investing in and protecting their female employees, significant challenges remain.” 

She adds: “Put bluntly, there’s a lot of talk but not enough action or results.” 

Procurious research shows that just 16% of women feel their organisation is making ‘tangible progress towards addressing gender bias’. 

“We need to work together to lift up, empower and protect women in the workforce and drive real change,” stresses Seary.

The research is based on global survey of 170 women, and is designed to expose the prevalence and impact of gender bias in the procurement workforce and the investments companies are making to drive change. 

Firms doing little or nothing on workplace gender bias

The survey revealed most companies appear to be doing little to nothing at all to address gender bias in the workplace. 

When asked about the top resources and initiatives that women want their companies to invest in to help empower them and tackle gender inequality in the workforce, closing the gender pay gap (49%), mentoring (47%) and leadership training (45%) topped the list. 

With job stresses at an all-time high and companies struggling to retain or recruit top talent, procurement and supply chain leaders that continue to fail to empower and protect the women in their workforce risk losing even more talent.

Other key findings include:

  • 23% of respondents say although women make up 40-50% of their procurement leadership team, few (15%) see these numbers reflected in the C-suite.
  • 70% of businesses either have no strategies to protect and promote women in supply chain and procurement – or if they do exist, they are ineffective.   
  • Only 14% of companies have gender equality strategies 
  • Just 16% are working on implementing such strategies
  • 63% of women say that, on top of their careers, they are also “primarily responsible” for domestic work at home.

The research was conducted by Procurious’s BRAVO Leadership Program, which offers women in procurement – and their employers – the opportunity to create “a culture of belonging where everybody can thrive”.

BRAVO offers mentoring programs, masterclasses, networking opportunities, and top-line speakers in its bid to combat issues arising from workplace gender biases.

Procurious CEO Tania Seary has previously spoken to Supply Chain Digital about workplace gender inquality issues, saying that she founded the BRAVO programme because “I don’t want the next great female entrepreneur in procurement and supply chain to be talking about gender inequality 20 years from now”.


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