“Women comprise 41% of the supply chain workforce on average in our 2021 survey” – Gartner® report

  • 20 Sep 2021
  • Supply Chain Management
“Women comprise 41% of the supply chain workforce on average in our 2021 survey” – Gartner® report  Image

Covid-19 has infected and killed millions across the world. It’s caused unprecedented disruption to our society and way of life, resulting in upheaval that’s not been experienced for generations  

While it’s sobering to think about the human cost of the pandemic; the loss of life; the loss of jobs; livelihoods and everything else, one initiative that has not only weathered the Covid-storm, but thrived, is diversity in procurement.  

We don’t seek to trivialize Covid, nor the horrifying realities it continues to inflict upon the world, but it’s worth celebrating what we can, when we can – and improved diversity in procurement is something we’re pleased to talk about. 

Women in the supply chain profession find their influence, opportunities, and career prospects to be better than ever before. This Gartner report, titled, “2021 Women In Supply Chain Survey Shows Resilience, Improvement in Representation” supports this hypothesis, with some startling statistics. 

“Women comprise 41% of the supply chain workforce on average in our 2021, a high point since this research started in 2016.”   

“All told, 73% of responding supply chain organizations, the highest proportion ever, have a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goal related to attracting, developing, retaining and advancing women. More respondents than ever have specific goals and accountability, and more supply chain leaders are leading their own DEI initiatives. “ 

Procurement expert Jurgita Andrijauskaite, Director of Customer Success EMEA at Medius reflected on the contents of the Gartner report. She said: 

“I’m pleased to read that diversity in procurement continues to improve, with women representing 41% of the workforce. 

“But, while it’s great to hear that more women are in the profession than ever there’s still more to be done to elevate female talent into leaderships positions. In fact, according to the Gartner report, only 15% of women are CSCOs/SVPs/EVPs/CPOs.” 

We think this could be causing what Gartner calls a ‘departure of midcareer women’ – frustrated by the lack of opportunities to progress into more senior roles.  

Shannon Kreps, VP Product Marketing and Communications at Medius, agrees with this assessment. She said: “Businesses should really take the time to reflect and ask tough questions of themselves: Why are talented women leaving their organization? And why are only 15% of women in top leadership jobs in procurement? 

“We should recognize the contribution women make to procurement, acknowledge their capabilities, and support and empower them to access opportunities they’re qualified for.” 

The Gartner report also talks about pandemic-related burnout amongst women. “In a survey of 3,000 employees, 46% of midlevel female supply chain professionals feel burnout, compared to 33% of midlevel male supply chain professionals.” 

The figure is alarming, and we think there’s a link to the impact Covid has had on women’s jobs in general. Since March 2020, women have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic compared to men. According to this McKinsey study, women are not only more likely to work longer hours, but those with children are more likely to spend more time providing childcare, and housework, compared to men. 

As such, burnout is a real challenge for organizations, and procurement functions will have to face up to in the coming months. In their report, Gartner say: 

“Women continue to be incredibly productive and successful, but burnout is real. Use a framework like Gartner’s S.A.N.E (Spot, Assess, Neutralize, Educate) to support teams and leaders.” 

Andrijauskaite thinks that men are part of the solution to the challenge of empowering women in procurement. She says: “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky to have been supported by both male and female mentors who have offered me their honest feedback, support and encouragement.  

“They‘ve also helped me to understand what both genders have to offer and learned to appreciate the value of diverse teams. Reflecting on my past, taking more risks and not letting perfection get in the way of progress are a few of the valuable lessons that I can attribute to my male role models, and I am thankful for them. 

“I’d encourage men in leadership positions to nurture and mentor women who are seeking leadership roles, and empower them to take the next step in their career. By doing this, I think you’ll unlock pent up talent in your business, and help stop frustrated women from finding employment elsewhere.” 

For more information about women in supply chain jobs, download this Gartner report by following this link. 



Gartner, 2021 Women in Supply Chain Survey Shows Resilience, Improvement in Representation, Dana Stiffler, Caroline Chumakov, 27 May 2021 

Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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