Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

How Do We Get More Women In Supply Chain?

talented females in the workplace

What percent of your office is female? This question was asked of me just a few weeks ago by a newer customer. It’s a question I have been asked before, but I admit, its not one shippers ask that frequently.

Some of you know the answer to this question – because you yourself have asked. But then again, I’m willing to bet most of you don’t know the answer, and have not thought to inquire about it. So, before you read on, take a minute and guess what portion of our work force is female. 

The answer?

Just over 50% of the TMC workforce is female. Of course, this number changes, but we typically hover around the 50% mark. I think it’s something we should all be proud of, and yes, we think it’s a large part of our success.

Our client base has many talented women, as well. However, many of them have told me they still feel supply chain is a male dominated profession. I hope our TMC client forums have helped generate a new venue for female supply chain leaders to connect.

The future of supply chain talent is something we’ve written about a few times (“Building a Pipeline for Talent” & “Technology is Important, But What about the People?”). In general, the industry has pointed to a lack of supply chain talent as a top challenge over the next decade. Thought leaders like Adrian Gonzalez of ARC Advisory Group have posed the question, how do we start supply chain courses at the high school level?

As we look to answer these questions, I’2013-05-22 19:24:10’d argue we should be looking to women to help.

I recently listened to a talk from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook that focused on answering the question: “Why we have too few women leaders?” She quotes some statistics to underscore the problem. For example, out of 190 heads of state in the world only nine are women. The corporate world does not fare much better according to Sandberg, with only about 16% of females in C- level positions.

The core problem is that women do not stay in the workplace, believes Sandberg. There are a many possible remedies such as mentoring and flexible hours, but she suggests three primary ways to increase retention rates.

  • Women should sit at the table. Females systematically underestimate their own abilities and are too ready to take sideline positions. “No one gets to the corner office by sitting on the side and not at the table,” she says.
  • Make your partner a real partner. We’ve made more progress on these issues in the workplace than in the home, where females shoulder more of the domestic burden, argues Sandberg.
  • Don’t leave before you leave. From the time women decide to have a family they tend to withdraw from career opportunities. Sandberg advises women to stay fully engaged until it is time to actually leave.

Take a few minutes and watch.  Do you agree with her advice?

Sandberg ends her discussion, stating she’d like to see a world where “half” of the world and business leaders were female —- on that point we do tend to agree.

- President, Managed Services
Linkedin Profile