Women in the warehouse
Recent research released by Gartner Inc. highlights how gender diversity in the supply chain and warehousing has levelled and continues to do so, particularly in senior management.
A few years ago, we wrote about the lack of women in supply chain and logistics roles. We are happy to report that this is changing rapidly. Recent research released by Gartner Inc. highlights how gender diversity in the supply chain has levelled and continues to do so, particularly in senior management. For instance, Gartner’s 2023 study found that 26% of supply chain C-suite roles are now held by women, up from 19% a year ago.
Across the entire supply chain workforce, women were found to make up 41% of individuals in employed positions, although the Gartner study also found that frontline roles still have some way to go. Only 31% of women are filling these roles, possibly because some environments, for instance warehouses, are seen as physically demanding and stereotypically male dominated.
Interestingly, the study also found that when an organisation had female representation at the senior executive level, this had a positive correlation with the number of female held roles throughout the rest of the organisation. Having female leadership can help create a culture that appeals to women and the organisation can then further benefit from the advantages that this diversity brings.
Gartner’s study found that workplace flexibility was the most effective way to attract and retain women to frontline roles. Another factor is inevitably the increased level of automation in warehouses today. Automation – with the use of conveyor systems, packing arms, voice assisted picking and mobile devices – has made working in such a physically demanding environment as an operative more feasible for a larger proportion of women and created new roles. Warehouse work used to involve a lot of heavy manual labour and could be quite a dangerous environment, but increased emphasis on health and safety plus the use of robotics and automation with software like a warehouse management system (WMS), has made it more appealing.
Warehouse software adoption has also opened up new career opportunities, for instance, in business intelligence and supply chain analytics. There is a mine of data being captured all the time in a warehouse and analytical tools are essential to transform this data into meaningful information. The supply chain analytics market is set to grow rapidly as a result of integrating multiple devices, through IoT, smart warehousing and AI tools, as well as emerging fields, such as 3D printing.
Now that more women are actively choosing to develop careers in the warehousing and supply chain industries, it’s worth reviewing how their specific skillsets are benefiting employers. Women often have many soft skills that make them ideally suited to working in warehouse management – a profession that requires high attention to detail and excellent communicators. They are often good at multi-tasking, innovative and creative, natural organisers and they tend to be very pragmatic about problem solving – all essential skills.
Overall, we are delighted to see women thriving in supply chain careers, the pattern very much reflects Indigo Software’s own gender diversity and we look forward to continuing this upwards trend.