It is no secret that women have experienced inequality in the workplace—from differences in pay to advancement opportunities to overall treatment. While women have made positive strides in the fight for equality, gender disparity still exists in many prominent industries, including Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Demanding equality seems easy in theory but has proven difficult to execute for a plethora of reasons. A positive way to combat the problem is to focus on opportunities for women to add unique value to the industry.
Sought After Skills & Abilities
One example of the added value that women can bring to the management side of logistics is a natural skill set that is beneficial in supply chain management. According to a 2013 survey conducted by SCM World Research where 147 chief supply chain officers were interviewed, both male and female respondents agreed that the natural skillsets of men and women are very different; furthermore, the survey showed that over 70% of men and nearly 95% of women within the same group of supply chain officers also believe that the natural skillsets of females are more advantageous for supply chain management.*
Research on brain science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania** found that women’s brains are built to send and receive information across hemispheres, lending them toward greater multi-tasking abilities, while the brains of men are wired to send and receive information within the same hemisphere, presumably offering a greater ability to focus and achieve one task at a time. The capacity for women’s brains to outperform men’s in multi-tasking due to biological differences highlight a strategic advantage that women can provide in managing supply chains.
Another way for women to make themselves more valuable in the marketplace is to explore career fields suffering from a low supply of candidates. This adds a new demographic of potential candidates to fill sought-after roles in industries that have historically been held by men. Logistics and supply chain management happen to be just such an industry.
Management recruiters have highlighted a growing concern within the supply chain industry related to a significant gap in experience being created as older logistics professionals retire and leave the industry. While new graduates within the logistics and supply chain industry are still coming through, there is still a significant gap in the middle range of experienced professionals in the field. This is one example of an opportunity where women can make great strides in a market that has been dominated by men in the past. When women take advantage of industries that are starved for qualified candidates to fill their key positions that have historically been held by men.
Organizations like Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), which are aimed at helping women grow and advance in the field of supply chain management, offer mentorship and advocacy to women in the field. Groups like these are empowering women to claim their rightful spot in the logistics industry by utilizing their skills to their fullest potential and boldly pursuing leadership positions. Now it is up to industry leaders to hire and promote the most qualified individuals, regardless of gender.