Bridging the Supply Chain Gender Gap

I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last mom to pull into a parking spot on two wheels, late for a meeting, hair soaking wet and coffee spilled down the front of my shirt. Being a working mom in supply chain isn’t for the faint of heart. But I’m not alone and the growing number of women entering this industry is encouraging.

Women in technology and supply chain have seen a lot of strides, and some hurdles, in the past 20 years. There is still opportunity to improve so that when our daughters hit the workforce, the corporate landscape might be more evenly matched.

Organizations within the supply chain ecosystem can take some progressive actions to bridge the gender gap and create a more equitable workplace across all roles and levels for women and working moms.

Diversity is more than a hiring campaign. Organizations that just want to tick a diversity box or decrease the gender gap in entry-level roles so they can hit a scorecard metric or make a Top 10 Employer list are missing the bigger picture and losing opportunities to propel their businesses forward.

Job candidates pay attention to what your organization looks like from top to bottom. If your website reflects a leadership page where everyone looks the same, you may want to rethink your company culture. If candidates have multiple job offers, they are more likely to choose an organization that shows diversity throughout the ranks and has defined career paths that will foster their personal growth.

New college graduates and candidates already in the workforce can be more selective about choosing new roles, especially in a market as hot as supply chain. They will evaluate salaries, but also career development, travel requirements, benefits, and flexible work locations.

Applicants will go to organizations that value their contributions and give them opportunities for growth beyond mid-management. If the culture isn’t what was advertised, they will leave for other opportunities that are a better fit.

Fresh perspectives are needed to solve growing supply chain challenges. The workforce that supports the global supply chain has been under tremendous stress for the past 18 months. The mass exodus of transport workers across the ecosystem has industry experts warning of a global transport system collapse, unless governments take urgent measures.

The crisis cannot be solved by the same rinse-and-repeat mentality. We need to have broader views, more empathy, and fresh perspectives to solve this ongoing crisis. Organizations whose cultural DNA values diversity and gender equality will be more prone to think outside the box and lead the charge in solving supply chain problems.

Attracting and retaining top talent. Walk the walk. Your actions will speak louder than your words. It’s simple.

Make sure there are established career paths for women, regardless of what level they start in your organization. Highlight examples of other employees who have followed these paths.

Create programs that offer executive training for mid-management and director levels. Provide advanced supply chain training if you are looking to hire at the entry level and allow employees to develop their skill set and grow.

Offer flexibility for working moms and single parents; they will be the best multi-taskers you ever hire.

Recruit female supply chain executives and give them a platform to highlight their industry experience through thought leadership and customer engagement. They should be a critical component of your executive team with an equal voice.

Women are attracted to, and stay at, organizations where they see women succeeding. Their coffee stains are badges of honor for themselves and their organizations.

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