The Procurement Pay Gap – Stuck in the Dark Ages?

A new survey has been released, by the Institute for Supply Management, that is making waves in the procurement world.

ISM’s 2017 Salary Survey, in its twelfth consecutive year, is based on 2016 US salaries. The survey ranks the following positions in the fields of procurement, supply management and sourcing:

  • Chief
  • Vice President
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Experienced Practitioner
  • Emerging Practitioner

Overall, the figures are healthy, with an average salary of $115,440 for supply management professionals. This is up five percent, from $109,961, in 2015.

Interestingly, women were paid significantly less than their male counterparts in each position, apart from the top spot: male CPOs on average earned $246,687 while females were compensated $299,509. However, the percentage of women in leadership decreases as the corporate ladder rises.

McKinsey & Company’s research on the gender gap shows this is not only a feminist issue, but also a global financial one; for example in Europe, $2 trillion could be added to the GDP by 2025 if pay equality was achieved.

Underpaid overachiever? If this is you, now is the opportune moment to ask for that raise. Especially if you are a woman and on the wrong side of the pay gap. We’ve got the figures to back you up. For starters, 75 percent of people who ask for a pay rise get an increase in wage.


Interactive Map Shows Purchasing Manager Salaries Across the US


So these findings are good news for the industry but bad news for the women working in the sector. It seems procurement is not as progressive as it could be.

So how is changed effected? The answer is not found in the workplace, but before – in academia. A Gartner report on Top U.S. Supply Chain Graduate University Programs surveyed 35 institutions in order to identify program strengths and gaps. The survey found that progress has been made in that universities have aligned themselves to modern supply chain organizations via applied coursework and placements for students. Thus the industry holds such degrees in higher esteem and even fights for the most talented graduating jobseekers. Fresh grads holding a globally recognised degree certificate should not encounter gender bias and excuses that a pay discrepancy is due to extra experience or geographical factors.

What can you do to help address the gender imbalance?

1. Inspire more women to enter into the occupation

If you’re already in the industry, consider passing on your knowledge to the next generation. Go into your local university and give a talk; be a role model and represent women in supply chain roles.

2. Set up schemes that offer a learning experience

Instigate an internship scheme in your company so that an aspiring procurement specialist can gain exposure to an office environment.

3. Encourage education for all ages

School isn’t just for teenagers – encourage mid-career professionals with potential in your organization to take advantage of tuition reimbursements and scholarships. Maybe a woman on mat leave would appreciate a part time course. This would reverse the “motherhood penalty”. This way you can nurture and keep your own talent for yourself and employ graduates in advanced supply chain degrees.

Ahead of tomorrow’s 50/50 Day on May 10, promoting gender equality, what better place to start effecting change than from a position of hindsight and wisdom.

What do you think?

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