Tag Archives: senior

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!

Managing A New Tech Project? Steal This Company’s Playbook

Make your new tech project a success with these tried and tested tips.


If you’ve managed a new technology project before, then you know the tech is the easy part. 

People are the challenge (and I mean that in the nicest way possible!)

Luckily, people and projects follow predictable patterns – no matter the size of your company. 

So here’s the playbook you need to make your new project successful. It’s the same one I’ve used to help dozens of companies like Credit Suisse and Honeywell launch systems on time and on budget.

And it’s yours to steal.

Step 1: Get the right people in the room

The most successful organisations are those that get the right people in the room from day one and keep them engaged the whole time.  

Who are the right people? It’s likely a mix of people across your organisation. Obvious inclusions are senior level decision makers. You also need to get the best technical brains in the room who understand the legacy system better than anyone else.

You need people who really understand your business – warts and all. Why are things done in the way that they are? What is the history? What are the processes? Are they defined in flowcharts and documents?  

You might think your own processes are well-documented, but they need to be really specific for the design phase (i.e. do emails/reminders have to be sent at a particular stage and what happens after X number of days; who do we escalate to?)

Next, you need to spend significant time making sure everyone understands and agrees the objectives of the new system. You need the people who hold the purse strings to agree, so you can get resources in place.

And prepare for scepticism – especially from people who have been around a while. These long-time employees have seen it all, and they might carry hard feelings from previous projects that didn’t live up to the promises.

So don’t be quick to dismiss those who seem negative; sometimes they are the key to understanding why something was done in the past, and to identifying where complexity can be removed. 

You’ll find if you address stakeholder concerns early on and make sure everyone feels heard and understood, you can get them on board and keep them there. And who knows? They could become your biggest ambassadors for the project. 

Plan for pushback

No matter how great your new system is – or how much time and money it will save the company – you should expect pushback. Most humans hate change. 

So approach their concerns with sympathy; after all, it can be hard to learn a new system.

And don’t forget about potential pushback from your suppliers. I often have customers who struggled previously with getting suppliers on legacy procurement systems.

Avoid that chaos by bringing your key suppliers in early.

For example, Maxim Healthcare struggled for seven long years to get suppliers on their legacy system. The suppliers pushed back en masse against the terms they had to accept, and possible fees faced by the vendor’s supplier network approach. 

So when they asked us to help them launch a new system, we put suppliers at the centre. Their suppliers were thrilled with the friendlier terms and approach. The result? Maxim Healthcare launched a shiny new P2P system in eight weeks with more suppliers than they acquired in the previous seven years. 

Define requirements and objectives

Before you go shopping, do the important work of laying down requirements and objectives.

Think of it like painting a room. The actual painting goes quickly; it’s all the prep work that takes the time.

Now is the opportunity to review your old processes and see if they’re still serving your company.

Get into the detail at the design phase and understand that documenting your processes will help to work out what you are doing now and where you can find efficiencies, cost savings, and better user adoption.

Everyone in your stakeholder group should agree on what your company needs in a new system. That will save you from scope creep (and many headaches) later on – when changes will be infinitely more expensive.

Once you know what you’re looking for, scrutinise different technology providers. Make sure you understand what is possible now with current technology.

At this stage, your provider should act as a friendly interrogator, questioning any areas they find in your processes that could be simplified. However, the act of removing that complexity is up to you. Will you make the most of the new technology you are paying good money for?

Look at the whole puzzle

A system may seem perfect in isolation, but you need to understand how it fits with the rest of your company set-up.

After all, you’re looking for a seamless flow of information, a consistent user experience, and a unified data model that supports 360 degree visibility of suppliers and activity.

None of that is possible if your company systems aren’t compatible. 

Also understand how the new tech system you choose can grow and change as your company changes. 

Some systems are too rigid to support those changes, meaning you could have a redundant system on your hands after only a few months.

And you should also consider how other existing company systems could change in the future. Are any of them due for an upgrade soon? Stay close to your CIO so your company makes the most of tech investments.

Allow for flexibility

Successful projects allow for flexibility in timing. Things will change and bumps will come up over the course of your project – no matter how precise your planning.

That’s why we use a hybrid agile/ waterfall method on our own projects (and encourage customers to use the same).

What does that mean? The waterfall approach is to build the system and then show it. Agile means to build as you go. 

Instead of choosing one over the other, we use both methods. That brings a nice balance of predictability with a level of flexibility to address unforeseen or evolving requirements.

At the design phase we try to lock down 80% of requirements and in this way we still maintain 20% for a level of flexibility. Though as mentioned earlier, it’s wise to get as specific as possible.

You might be surprised how quickly a project can come together this way. Take the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for example. They needed the ability to upload bid submittals electronically, and we helped them launch the feature in just one week. 

Nailing down exactly what you need will make the actual build phase go quicker. And building in contingency time means you won’t get caught off guard when you reach a hiccup. 

Send in the A-team

You need to take people off their day-to-day work and give them the time to focus on this project.  

Have dedicated project team members who solely work on launching the new system. They should be able to answer business and technical questions, and to report back on user issues and gripes. 

This is especially important during the early stages of the project, but no less important throughout the entire process.

The best way to mitigate issues is to plan for them by making sure that you have enough and the right resources.

Once the procurement system is rolled out, it’s key to keep the same team engaged so a knowledge exchange to the support team can take place. They should stay put for at least a few weeks after launch to ensure a smooth transition.

Finish strong

Successful project teams are always communicating. 

At the start of any new project, I set up monthly steering meetings at the executive level. There are weekly project status meetings with project leaders, Ivalua, partners and clients to share what has been done, the challenges and what’s planned for the next week. 

We put any roadblocks or risks on the table and take a realistic health check on the overall project status.

I also schedule “Work in Progress” reviews to keep everything on track and spot issues a long way off. 

These checkpoints allow us to confirm we are headed in the right direction, and we can take some feedback to adjust it when needed.

You can do this

To summarise, when you managing a new tech project of any size, there are the three keys to success:

1) Know what your goals are, and make sure these are communicated to your internal teams and to the companies you are working with. 

2) Have the right people in the room. 

3) Complete a robust, open and transparent design phase to get what you want and guarantee that your organisation gets what it needs.

Finally, make sure you report your after-launch success back to senior management. Ivalua did some research earlier this year that showed 67% of procurement professionals believe that their colleagues consider them to be a key business partner contributing significant strategic value.

They already know you are valuable. Your project is another opportunity to prove it.