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Pay Gap Persists in Supply Chain

APICS CEO

Friday June 1, 2018


While more women are embarking on supply chain careers, there is still a pay disparity between men and women. Recent APICS research, which was highlighted this week in the Wall Street Journal, shows men in supply chain on average earn 16 percent more than women.

“Experts say a range of factors play into the gender pay gap, including discrimination and different career choices. White-collar jobs often reward people who work long hours or change positions frequently, for instance, steps some women with families may be less likely to take,” writes Jennifer Smith for the Wall Street Journal.

Smith interviewed Sana Raheem, head of operations at The Farmer’s Dog, a pet food company. Raheem said, to keep moving ahead professionally, she had to take jobs in remote manufacturing locations with few female role models. “I had many moments early in my career where I was told to slow down, be less aggressive, and pay my dues,” Raheem explains. “I saw a lot of women around me accept similar feedback and spend years making less than their male counterparts.”

According to the APICS 2018 Supply Chain Compensation and Career Survey Report, the gender pay disparity increases with tenure in the field. Therefore, women with 20 years or more experience earn more than 16 percent less than their male counterparts. Women with less than one year of experience earn on average about 6 percent less than males in supply chain.

The pay disparity among supply chain professionals matches the average that exists across all careers. The U.S. Census Bureau reports women were paid 81.8 percent of what men were paid in 2017. However, census data also reveal that the gender pay gap is more substantial — 74 cents for every dollar — in management, business and financial careers.

“The most recent pay gap figures come as supply chain jobs, which traditionally focused on operations, have evolved to include more financial planning, data analysis and information technology roles,” Smith writes. “Overall pay in the sector is up, as companies look for more aggressive management of their supply chains to offset rising production and freight expenses.”

Gender aside, the APICS survey shows that continued professional education has a large impact on the salaries of supply chain professionals. Survey respondents who indicated holding one certification reported a median salary that was 19 percent more than their peers without certifications. Further, respondents who earned an APICS certification reported a median salary that is 27 percent more than those who indicated that they did not have any certification. Certifications were also found to have a continuing career impact. Among workers with the same tenure in the field, those with an APICS certification reported higher salaries than those without one.

Getting what you deserve

APICS is dedicated to attracting, retaining and advancing women in supply chain. In addition to the APICS 2018 Supply Chain Compensation and Career Survey Report, APICS members have access to the APICS Salary Calculator. This is an essential tool to finding out how your salary stacks up against your peers.

Further, everyone interested in this topic should read “Eight Things Every Woman in Supply Chain Needs to Know.” This advice came out of the first-ever APICS Women in Supply Chain Forum, which APICS again will host in conjunction with APICS 2018 in Chicago. Hear from supply chain and diversity trailblazers, who will share their insights regarding the new faces of supply chain leadership and the future of the field. Plus, participants in this special gathering will have the opportunity to network with one another and discuss opportunities and challenges.

The gender pay gap is a problem for everyone in the supply chain. I’m reminded of a quote, often attributed to political activist Eldridge Cleaver: “You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem.” Organizations and supply chain leaders have a responsibility, especially given the war for talent, to attract and nurture women in supply chain. Look at APICS research on the subject. In particular, I call your attention to “Women in Manufacturing: Stepping up to make an impact that matters.” The report provides key insights on how companies can effectively recruit, retain and advance talented women in manufacturing.

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