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For the last few years the Procurement Leaders Salary Survey has collated pay data from purchasing professionals across different geographies and industries and has highlighted some significant trends. One such trend is that women in the function consistently earn less than their male counterparts. While we would like to say that that gap has narrowed, the survey has continued to show that the gap remains static, with women earning around 75% of what men do.
This is largely explained by the ‘glass-ceiling effect’ in which women are far less likely to secure a CPO position. However, this doesn’t get into the detail of it, and should no longer be an accepted reason.
The survey found that women make up a significant portion (44.8%) of buyers, but that only 12% were CPOs, which seems to indicate that there is a block. Most would point to women taking a career break to have children as one reason but this survey has found another factor.
The survey suggests that this disparity can be placed, at least in part, at the door of the management experience that females get as they come up through the ranks.
The 2017 Salary Survey gathered data on the number of direct reports procurement professionals have and looked at that in terms of gender and age.
It found that at almost every age, men have more reports than women and while the volume of reports steadily rises with age for men, for women the volume is fairly static over the course of their careers.
More surprisingly still, there is evidence that men have more management opportunities in their 20s and 30s, which suggests that inequality largely continues.
The more reports someone has and the more management experience they have tends to directly relate to earnings. For example, procurement professionals with no reports earn an average total package of €81,637 a year. Meanwhile, those with 26-50 reports earn €192,730 and those with over 250 reports earn €375,556. With women typically recording fewer reports, it follows that they have lower salaries compared with their male colleagues who have a higher number of reports.
While encouraging females into the function may be the focus of many businesses, to really make a difference to the gap that exists it is time to start opening up those management opportunities to women. Do that and the pay divide should finally close.
Find out more in Procurement Leaders Procurement Salary Survey 2017
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.