March 8th, 2016
Leadership: Why Recruiting More Women in Supply Chain Matters (Part 1)
Successful and well-balanced companies know that women business leaders—and their exceptional leadership skills—provide major benefits. But why is recruiting more female talent in supply chain and logistics still an issue?
How to search for talent implies having a broad and open mind to look past the obvious, to go beyond conventional methods, and to accept that a better gender balance in supply chain results in a more successful business. But we’re struggling to make that happen in our industry.
A tradition of a male-dominated supply chain sector has made it difficult for women to be well represented, or at least considered as an equal in the competition for supply chain jobs. In the past few years, there have been subtle signs of change, but not enough.
Why has there been a small amount of change? Well, employers demand skills—so called “soft skills”—such as collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and multitasking in the fast-paced supply chain work environment, which many strong females happen to possess. It’s shown time and again that these skills can improve employee engagement and make for smooth-running operations.
The question, however, remains: why, specifically, do we still lack women in supply chain and logistics?
Is the lack of women representation due to companies simply not hiring enough female talent, or is there not enough female talent available? Are university programs attractive enough for female students? Are women intimidated by the logistics industry, allowing the challenges they may encounter to prevent them from jumping in? When there are females with exceptional leadership skills that fit the industry, where are they found?
To answer some of these more specific questions, we interviewed an expert in the industry who clearly sees the absence of female executives in supply chain and logistics in the many international industry events he chairs on a regular basis. That experience, of course, gives him a unique perspective and the ability to provide insight.
Hugh Williams, Managing Director of Hughenden Consulting, an international, specialist consultancy focused on the processes of supply chain planning, doesn’t believe that there must be more women per se, however, he thinks there should be more. “The lack of women is due to the fact that, traditionally, Supply Chain roles are filled from the “coalface,” and consequently, men have traditionally taken these jobs,” says Williams.
Stay tuned for part 2 to hear much more from Hugh Williams, including some insights that you can implement at your business.