Gender gap in the C-suite is a reality; look to supply chain to deliver change

While a new CEO might ordinarily warrant a press release, Mary Barra’s rise from supply chain professional to chief executive of General Motors made the headlines on account of her gender.  The reality is that there is still a dramatic gender gap in the C-suite, and companies should look to supply chain to narrow this gap.

Recent articles in Fortune and APICS have highlighted some staggering statistics: 37% of students in supply chain courses are women, but women make up only 5% of top supply chain jobs at Fortune 500 companies.  For perspective, 15% of Fortune 500 executive jobs overall are held by women – so there is a stark disparity in supply chain specifically.

Why is the gap so pronounced in this industry?  Fortune’s Caroline Fairchild suggests that the demands of the job itself might be partially to blame: as managers are responsible for planning and purchasing through to transportation, storage and distribution – responsibilities often include erratic hours and travel, making what Fairchild describes as, “a challenging lifestyle choice for women who may be interested in building a family.”

Despite its challenges, candidates from the supply chain field bring incredible experience and a holistic vision – having their hands in every step in the product process: from planning and production to final delivery.

The opportunities are there for women who want to push for the right experience in their careers – and for organizations who want to see great experience represented at the executive level.

Want more women in the C-suite? Start with the supply chain [Fortune]
The Supply Chain Gender Gap [APICS]
Image adapted from Wikimedia Commons