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STAMFORD, Conn., June 16, 2021

Gartner Survey Finds Women Comprise 41% of the Supply Chain Workforce

Lack of Career Opportunities Biggest Challenge for Retaining Midcareer Women

Women comprise 41% of the supply chain workforce in 2021, up from 39% in 2020, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. Every leadership level saw an increase in representation, except the executive level where there has been a slight decline. In 2021, women account for 15% of executive level roles, down from 17% in 2020 (see Figure 1).

The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021 by Gartner, and AWESOME, surveyed 223 supply chain organizations from February through March 2021. The findings showed the highest percentage of women in the supply chain workforce since the first edition of the survey in 2016.

"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."

Figure 1: Women in Supply Chain Leadership Roles

Source: Gartner (June 2021)

Retaining Midcareer Women Poses Biggest Challenge

The pandemic does not appear to have disrupted supply chain gender equality efforts, according to the survey. Eighty-four percent of responding organizations stated that COVID-19 had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women.

However, 54% of survey respondents said that retaining midcareer women is an increasing challenge. Lack of career opportunities is the top reason that midcareer women left a supply chain organization or provider. The second-most selected option was development opportunities.

"Supply chain leaders who are serious about their gender equality efforts must create tailored leadership development programs and explore flexible work policies that cater to the needs of midcareer women," Ms. Stiffler said.

More Organizations Are Setting Goals for Gender Diversity and Start Initiatives

Previous years have shown that setting goals and having stated objectives are crucial drivers for improvements in pipelines and other DEI outcomes. 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.

"It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines," Ms. Stiffler concluded.

Gartner clients can read more in “2021 Women in Supply Chain Survey Shows Resilience, Improvement in Representation”. Non clients can learn more in the report “Women in Supply Chain: 2021 Trends in Representation”.

About the Survey

For Gartner’s Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, Gartner partner with AWESOME to develop the survey and recruit participants. Qualified participants worked in organizations that have an internal supply chain organization or in organizations where supply chain is a separate business unit, specialty or practice area, or those who are vendors of supply chain services and solutions. Organizations tracked and analyzed had to have a minimum of $100 million in annual revenue.

About Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo is the most important gathering of CSCOs and supply chain executives. Supply chain leaders will discover the must-have insights, strategies and frameworks to build the sustainable, societal and profitable supply chains required for a dynamic world.

Upcoming dates for the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo include:

September 13-15: EMEA [Virtual]

October 25-27: Orlando, FL

About the Gartner Supply Chain Practice

The Gartner Supply Chain Practice brings together the most relevant analysis, peer-based best practices, metrics and data across Gartner and offers supply chain leaders a platform to make the choices that will drive their business forward. Additional information is available at https://www.gartner.com/en/supply-chain. Follow news and update from the Gartner Supply Chain Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerSC.

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About Gartner

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Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.