Just 13% of chief supply chain officers in Europe’s top 500 companies by revenue are female, a report from consultancy firm Heidrick & Struggles found.
According to ‘Supply chain leadership in Europe: Where are the women?’ as of May this year, 172 out of the 500 companies have chief supply chain officers and only 22 (13%) are women – the second-least diverse leadership role.
France, 17%, has the highest share of women leading the supply chain function among Europe’s three largest markets, which is seen as a result of a regulatory push for greater diversity.
Heidrick & Struggles says that with many companies pursuing gender diversity, women could have an advantage in supply chain roles because they proved to be more collaborative than men in the role of both buying agent and supply agent.
It suggests supply chain leadership teams made up of only women outperformed teams of any other composition when it came to efficiency.
The report provides tips to improve the gender balance among supply chain leaders created through feedback received from 12 female leaders in European supply chain functions.
The author of the report Camilla Gilone told Supply Management she expected levels of gender diversity to increase as more women leaders are headhunted and progress up the ranks into leading roles.
“The numbers reflect the past. They’re a good vision of the past difficulties that women came across. That is all true. But now, there is a different approach, and it will definitely bring more results in favour of female talent in the future,” Camilla told Supply Management.