All posts by Dana Small

5 Steps Leaders Can Take To Close The Gender Pay Gap In Procurement & Supply Chain

The good news is, women are breaking the glass ceiling and moving up the ranks in Procurement and Supply Chain – the bad news is, their pay doesn’t necessarily reflect their achievement. How can leaders halt this divergence and close the pay gap?


Women Leaders who are Moving Mountains

Women are becoming more successful in 2020 than ever in moving into high level positions within major organisations.

According to the Cataylst Org. “In 2019 (2020 the percentage was unchanged), the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29%, the highest number ever recorded.

Therefore, women are breaking the glass ceiling in terms of ‘moving up the ranks’, but are we seeing the same with our pay? And what about women within the procurement and supply chain function?

Are both increasing in parallel, or is there an even bigger divergence amongst women in senior level roles?

Well, if you’ve read any of the earlier Procurious blogs, you’ll know that unfortunately women looking for equal pay, is still a thing. The article cites that results reported by CIPS indicates that the “average pay gap in the profession overall narrowed slightly to 21% in 2019.” When women are promoted to a higher position, this gap increases significantly.

To make things even worse, the gender pay gap for a senior position for women has risen to 35% in 2019. And when looking at the pay range, it can be upwards of +£23.2k difference.

So, despite the appearance of promotion and equality moving into the Executive levels, the pay is still lagging far behind. Not really a win-win situation for women (quite infuriating if you ask most of us).

Therefore, what can be done to help close and not exasperate this difference? And what can leaders in procurement and supply chain do to try and make a change for future generations?

Making the Mountain Climb worth the Effort

Seeing the huge disparity in senior level roles will only further detract women from the industry, which would only leave us at a huge disadvantage. According to American Express OPEN, growth in women-owned businesses has outpaced the overall increase in new businesses by 1.5 times.

Therefore, everyone within the procurement and supply chain function must do their part to close the gap (and make the climb worth the effort) for women globally.  So just how can we do that?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Here are five basic steps any leader can take to help create equality for women.

1. Promote Wisely

When promoting women into higher positions, make sure they are not at the bottom of the pay scale.  Make sure you or your HR partner does a benchmark pay assessment internally and externally to ensure fairness across the position.

2. Stop the Pregnancy / Child Penalisation

From personal experience, the way a company treats women going out on pregnancy leave can be drastically different.

In one company I was penalised monetarily (pro-rated) in my bonus, pay, and other compensation for taking off time. In the other, when I came back from leave, I was promoted, and got full bonus and salary increase.

In both cases I didn’t even take the full six months allowed for in the state, only taking four months each time. But the disparity in pay, bonus, and other compensation is how women end up behind the curve. And something companies should not take lightly.

3. Encourage Talented Women Professionals to Switch Professions

If you have a business partner who is great at marketing, supplier negotiations, or has a breadth of experience with an executive presence, go after her to come and experience procurement or supply chain!

In many organisations you will find extremely talented women without direct procurement experience, but very aware of the processes and policies. That’s what we like to call potential, especially when other functions tend to pay women more than procurement/supply chain.

They’ll take with them this increase in salary/bonus and carry it forward into the industry. A win-win for orgfanisations and women alike.

4.    Make Multiple Women Mentors a Standard

Do you know what’s great? One-woman mentor. Do you know what’s even better? Multiple women mentors! Why?

Not all women have the same issues, and not all will connect. It’s like any other relationship. Therefore, having not just one but multiple mentors across the organization.  Expediting the learning and leadership process, can only help propel women into higher paying opportunities.

Do what you need to go out of your way to help women employees to connect with.

5. Transparency in Salary

If you happen to live in the US, this practice of sharing pay information is actually protected by law (Department of Labor). But if you aren’t, there are still other resources – Glassdoor.com, LinkedIn Salaries, etc.

Why is this useful? Well if can arm yourself with the information of pay range, you are less likely to underpay women or miss out on giving them fair pay from the start.

And if you are a woman looking for a new job or making a switch, it gives you the leverage during salary negotiations. So even if an employer doesn’t want to give you a pay range, you can easily figure out how much they value you when they do. Information in this day and age is truly priceless!

Why Are Women Getting The Short End Of The Stick When It Comes To COVID-19?

What is the pink recession and why is it coming?


Women in the workplace

It’s no shock to anyone that women have been shortchanged in the workplace for decades now. We’re still struggling for equality on so many levels. From being promoted last, to being passed over for the best assignments, we always end up seemingly on the short end of the stick.

That surely doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress. This problem literally comes two months after Forbes reported Women had started holding more jobs in the US than men. And now, they have accounted for 55% of the increase in job losses.

That means, a portion of our progress may be quickly erased with the new ‘Pink-Collar recession.’ So, what exactly is it?

In a recent article from The Guardian, they define it as the economic downturn from the COVID-19 outbreak, that has ended up affecting more women than men. The opposite of what we typically see in times of economic crises.  

Great. It’s exactly what we don’t need when it comes to advancing the cause. It’s been hard enough fighting for equal pay, now this setting us back even further!

Causes of the Pink-Collar Recession

Although there may be some who may be happy that we are going back to more traditional ways, most of us are not. And that’s only a sliver of the problem; because, it’s tradition for women to stay home and take care of the kids.

Now, just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Women have more than proved themselves when it comes to being successful.

Just look at amazing women politicians like Angela Merkle and Jacinda Arden. Not to mention all the women who have their own businesses and made it to the C-Suite of Fortune 500 companies. We’ve overcome the odds to be some of the most powerful women in the world!

Unfortunately, not all women can work full time, and therein lies another problem. Women started out with a disadvantage from the beginning. Women are over-represented in low-wage roles.

Add to that the majority of industries women have chosen to work in have been the ones the hardest hit by the downturn. Retail, food services and accommodations (hospitality) are at the top of that list.  

Even in certain industries like transportation (i.e. airlines), women with the least amount of seniority, are most likely to lose their jobs.

And even for those of us who are able to work remotely from home, research suggests (by the IFC and UCL Institute of education) that:

“Among those doing paid work at home, mothers are more likely than fathers to be spending their work hours simultaneously trying to care for children…that in lockdown, mothers in two-parent households are only doing, on average, a third of the uninterrupted paid-work hours of fathers.”

I personally can validate these statistics. And I can say that it isn’t something I’m particularly happy about.

Women Making it Through and Past the COVID-19 World

We’ve endured much tougher things as women than a virus, so I’m certain we will make it through these times. Some women like myself, have been able to keep their jobs and effectively multi-task taking care of their children at the same time.

But for some, that may simply not be true or as lucky. Therefore, the question then remains, what are the women who have been directly affected to do?

Well for one, the women who have managed to maintain their positions and family, must look out for those who were less fortunate. Being aware of the current impact to the work environment, just simply isn’t enough.

Second, we must push harder for gender equality in the workplace. Equal pay, pregnancy leave, and flexible work-schedules (remote too) are at the top of my list.  But even succeeding with these things, won’t get us to equality.

Go out of your way to become a role-model or mentor to other women who have been held back in their careers. And if you are managing women employees, make sure that they know you value work and are rewarded to reflect this.

We always knew the path to gender equality wouldn’t be a straight one, but I’m sure few of us planned for this set-back. That’s why it’s so important for us to try and keep what advancements we had made. And then push harder, for more in the future.

Without this, we may be leaving ourselves open to a much dire situation. And I personally can’t think of anything worse than our society being sent back to the 1950’s. We deserve equality, so let’s not let each other down and support the fight!

For other on supporting women’s rights, check out these Women in Procurement news at Procurious.

Backstabbing Co-Workers: How To Handle The Two-Faced Foe

Are you walking around with knives in your back? This is how to handle office backstabbing…


Backstabbing in the Office

Most of the time we are walking around with a knife in our backs, and we don’t even know it. Bleeding and hemorrhaging with no way of knowing how to fix it.

See Mary from accounting over there? She told the VP of the department she sees you taking 2-hour lunches on a consistent basis.

And Jack from IT. He told your colleagues what “interesting” google searches you’ve made lately. And Susan from Marketing, she made up a complete lie about your conversation last week and now your boss is calling you into his office.

Think it doesn’t happen to you or your company? Think again. You just may not have heard about it yet.

Depending on how strong your network is, how much others trust you, and for a multitude of other reasons you may not find out for months how badly you’ve been attacked. And that’s only the beginning.

The First Time

I think I was in literal shock. An Executive Director had told my boss a bold-faced lied. He said I wasn’t willing to work with him and I that had demanded it was to be done my way. I had been back-stabbed.

Now, I may be a bull in a China shop in my early years, but I’m not stupid. Nor am I a jerk. And he had painted me out to be both.

So when my boss told me about the feedback I was stunned. How could he have made something up, literally out of thin air? And why would he do that? I was never a fan of soap operas, but suddenly my work-life had turned into one. But I wasn’t going down without a fight.

I literally never spoke with anyone again over the phone for the next year. Everything was voicemail or email. I kept track of everything.

The Repeat Backstabber

This time, I had been bleeding for longer than I could have ever known. But at least my boss knew me well enough to come to my aid.

A coworker had taken parts of our conversations, twisted them and told one of my bosses. Just to try and gain an edge for his personal promotion.

I never knew. He was doing it to try to get ahead in the company, but unfortunately, it didn’t work.

So when he contacted me on LinkedIn a few months later, l confronted him. He never apologized, and I haven’t heard from him since.

I also found out a year later his previous business partners were hunting him down due to the ‘savings numbers’ he had made up. They were being taken from their budgets. Budgets that they didn’t have to give in the first place.

He was a snake in the bush. And we all had suffered the consequences of working with him. But from that point on I had learned my lesson. Always watch out for those who feel slighted in their current position, want to move up or just have questionable motives for talking with you. They have the most to gain.

Countless Other Backstabbing Incidents

If you’ve read some other blogs, you know this hasn’t been the first I’ve experienced with backstabbing coworkers. I’ve had other women’s efforts stop me from getting a job.

These are only the times I actually know about. I’m sure I’m still walking around with a few knives in my back. Some I’m sure I will never be aware of, but that’s okay.

The fact remains, people really are willing to go above and beyond to get ahead. Especially if it’s at someone else’ cost.

How do we handle the two-faced foe?

1.  Maintain integrity. Never return the favor, as it will only make you look bad.

2. Politely confront the situation. I firmly believe people do this and continue to get away with it because most are too scared to confront them.

3. Maintain your distance. Knowing is half the battle, so keep 99% of coworkers at arm’s length.

4. Always be alert/aware. It’s always the quiet ones who end up doing the most damage.

5. Create and maintain a strong business network. The more eyes and ears you have, the better chances you’ll hear things sooner rather than later.

6. Never underestimate others. People will surprise you every day with what they are capable of.

7. Don’t let it get you down. Karma always has a way of finding those who provoked it in the first place.

This article was originally published on Ms. Category Management on July 3rd, 2019 and is republished here with permission.

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