Gender Equality Goals Help Women Achieve Supply Chain Leadership Positions

Organizations that set measurable targets are most likely to lift women into supply chain leadership positions.

While supply chain organizations deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders shouldn’t forget that gender equality remains an important goal to pursue. The Gartner 2020 Women in Supply Chain Survey shows that 17% of chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) are now women — the highest rate since we started the survey in 2016. Gender representation varies considerably across industries, however.

“In supply chain roles, compared with other professions, the talent crunch has been particularly acute,” says Dana Stiffler, VP Analyst, Gartner. “Women are underutilized resources in the so-called war for talent.”


The consumer and retail sector not only maintains the largest female supply chain workforce of all industries surveyed, but also manages to consistently lift women into leadership positions. Consumer organizations’ representation of women at the leadership level is nearly twice that of industrial organizations. What is their secret? 

One reason is that consumer and retail organizations are much more likely to have formal targets and specific gender representation goals on management scorecards, and twice as likely to have formal equal representation goals than other sectors. 

The data is clear: Setting measurable targets correlates with improved gender representation. Except for consumer and retail, the other industries and supply chain solution providers surveyed have general objectives on gender diversity, but this soft approach does not yield strong results. Supply chain leaders that truly seek to achieve better representation of women across all supply chain roles must put down clear, measurable goals and accept that they will be held accountable for the results.