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Are you balancing for better in your procurement team?

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

Gender balance in the workplace continues to be a topic high on the agenda for business leaders, and the benefits of building a more balanced place of work are numerous. The Hays Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018 shows that procurement professionals believe greater diversity and inclusion in their workplace has a positive impact on both overall company culture and staff morale.

Other benefits highlighted by procurement professionals include being better able to recruit and retain the best talent. This is especially pertinent as results from our UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide indicate the widespread challenges that procurement employers face when trying to find the right skills for their team – 93% say they have experienced some form of skills shortage in the last year.

Differing views about career progression

The benefits of better gender balance are clear; however, our Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018 shows that employee perceptions about career progression are not necessarily positive across the board. 42% of female procurement professionals do not believe they and their equally capable colleagues have the same career opportunities available to them regardless of their gender. This is in comparison to 22% of male procurement professionals who think the same.

One female respondent working in procurement said, “Whilst I am in a senior role within my team, there is a lack of diversity within the senior management roles within the wider organisation which makes me question what opportunities there are to progress beyond my current position.”

This sense of not having the opportunity to progress in a role has a knock-on effect on staff retention. In my previous blog I discussed how a lack of career progression opportunities is a leading cause of employee movement in the procurement profession, making this a top priority for managers to address.

The journey continues towards balanced pay

There are also differing perceptions around equal pay. 39% of women working in procurement think they and their equally capable colleagues are not paid in an equal manner, regardless of gender, compared to 22% of men.

Looking at pay in more detail, the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide and Insights 2018 report shows that some gender pay gaps exist at higher levels of seniority in the procurement profession. However, the gap appears to be closing at lower seniority levels. While this is a promising sign of a move towards pay equality in the future, work must continue to close the existing gaps.

What can you do to balance for better in your procurement team?

1. Implement inclusive practices and policies – Put into action policies that can help ensure career progression opportunities are inclusive to all members of your team. This can include flexible working opportunities for all employees, which allows for better management of both their work and personal lives, as well as mentoring programmes which can provide under-represented groups with access to leadership development opportunities.

2. Encourage debate and diversity of thought – All employees should feel empowered to challenge the normal way of working and be confident that their voices will be heard and respected. Doing so leads to greater idea generation and can help build a more inclusive workplace. Be proactive in getting this feedback from your team through surveys, one-to-one meetings or collaborative roundtable discussions.

3. Celebrate your successes – After putting inclusive practices and policies in place, it is important to then communicate any progress and proven successes to the wider team, so your employees are aware of the work being done to improve diversity as well as the benefits of doing so.

Although we are starting to see improvements in gender diversity, we all have a part to play to continue this journey. View our diversity page for more insights from Hays experts, and to get the latest Hays UK Diversity & Inclusion report.

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.

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