Are women in procurement still earning less than men? It seems so

Career developmentStaff developmentTalent and Leadership

The Salary Survey has consistently found that women take home substantially less pay than men, even when in the same job. Will that ever change?


A female CPO, for example, can expect to earn around 94% of a male colleague’s salary. For regional category managers, women have been found to earn only 69% of a man’s wage.


This tends to get compounded by the ‘glass-ceiling effect’, in which women find it difficult to break through into the higher levels of an organisation. Only 14% of our CPO sample last year were women.


We hope, in Procurement Leaders, that the evidence from this year’s survey will report a more equitable standing for salaries between the genders. The evidence of previous surveys suggests that it is closing. When we started the research in 2012, the difference between men and women’s salaries was 70%, last year it was 76%.


Aside from gender, this year we will also be assessing the level of job satisfaction and contentment that procurement professionals feel in their roles. We hope to be able to answer the question of whether money buys buyers happiness?


Last year we found that there was some evidence to support this thesis. However, it is not a one-to-one equation. People’s relationship with salary and happiness tends to evolve as they age. Money is more important to younger people, and more established professionals develop a broader range of priorities.


Another area of investigation in this study is the link between salary and training. Here, we are aiming to take a broad-based view of development. That is, not only thinking of classroom-based lectures, which can take precedence in the minds of employees, instead looking at the wider opportunities to which a person is exposed.


The split that many talk of is 70:20:10. That describes the optimal training programme for an employee. 70% of their growth stems from on-the-job learning opportunities. 20% comes from mentoring and coaching. The final 10% is derived from learning in the classroom. This sometimes is a surprising proportion to younger people who tend to be more interested in training and certification, however, we suspect that their career prospects, and thereby their salaries, are influenced more by the experiences they have seized upon.


Hopefully, the 2017 salary survey will provide some substantiation around this point.


Procurement Leaders has launched a Women Procurement Leaders initiative to raise awareness about these issues. To find out more click here.

Jonathan Webb
Posted by Jonathan Webb

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