Procurement Leaders

Let's Push Things Forward: Women in Procurement

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Procurement Leaders new initiative, Women in Procurement, aims to promote women in the function. In New York we found out what their challenges are and what they are doing to overcome them.


It is difficult to ignore the benefits that a diverse work place can bring for any business. A Gallup poll found that gender-diverse business units in retail companies have 14% higher average comparable revenue than those that are less-diverse. Beyond just the financials there are the benefits of different view points as well as different skill sets.


Still though, the balance between men and women, especially in the senior ranks, is still out of kilter, especially in procurement. Procurement Leaders’ 2016 Salary Survey found that only 14% of CPOs are women and that women generally earn about 76% of their male colleagues salary.


To try and change this situation, Procurement Leaders launched its Women in Procurement initiative, which has been travelling and meeting women all over the world to bring them together to share their thoughts on the topic and what can be done to encourage more women into the function.


Recently, we had twelve female senior procurement executives at our first Women in Procurement dinner at Pampano in New York.


Our conversation fluidly moved from professional topics of career advancement and mentoring to kid’s homework, planning Christmas holidays and being the sandwich generation, those who look after children and parents at the same time. The subjects ranged from serious to frivolous with lots of laughter and comradery in between.


Lucero, our female chef delighted us with superb dining experience and discussed her career progression in the culinary world. “Why is it that women’s place has always been in the kitchen, yet only a few make it to the professional kitchens? …” Lucero, wondered. We sympathized.


When it came to procurement the topics of most resonance ranged from personal branding, political savvy and executive presence to gaining command of corporate financials, preparing for board presentations and public speaking. Many said they saw their male colleagues as allies on this journey and credited their fathers, professors and male bosses for their support and encouragement.


Our aim with this programme is to tip the scale on some of the numbers, by facing the issue head on and creating programs which will help attract more women into the profession and help them move up the ranks. in the profession, should they choose to make it their career.


It is designed to encourage global connectivity, world class tools and mentoring along with inspiring case studies, best practices and deep-dive research delivered via our dedicated Women in Procurement website. One where you can have virtual mentoring sessions from your office, with Paula Martinez, CPO of UCB Biopharma, or ponder your next move with Carol Danoff, CPO of Novartis in New York?


It is about enhancing already existing research, which points to gender balanced organizations as having more sustainable and positive business results. With procurement having the majority of company spend under their belt, a shift can only prove beneficial. Let the conversation begin. All voices are welcomed at this table.


This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.


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