Supply chain organizations are increasingly addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) objectives, but the size and type of company dictates the organization’s progress along the DEI path, according to a survey from Gartner, released this week.
Gartner researchers polled nearly 300 supply chain professionals from the United States, Canada, and Europe for its Supply Chain Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey, conducted with the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). They found that more than half of supply chain organizations have DEI goals or objectives—defined as efforts “to improve any dimension of DEI,” including race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+, physical and cognitive ability, veteran status, or age—but less than a quarter have set targets for meeting those goals. Targets could be reflected in recruiting efforts (interviewing two diverse candidates for every slate, for instance) or in hiring goals (reaching a certain percentage of women leaders in an organization), according to Gartner.
Drilling down, the researchers found that consumer and retail organizations are more likely than other industry sectors to either have a general objective for DEI or formal targets or goals, and that the largest supply chain organizations are far more likely to have DEI objectives than their smaller peers. Only 24% of small business supply chains have “improved DEI” as an objective, the researchers said.
“This makes sense when you look at the social justice movements of 2020. The largest global companies have globally recognizable brands, so they were under a lot of pressure to take action,” Dana Stiffler, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, said in a statement. “In a global organization, it’s more likely they’ll have a DEI officer or an HR leader that owns and cascades the DEI strategy. Where this is not happening fast enough, some chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) have designed and launched their own initiatives.”
The survey also found that people of color make up 30% of the overall supply chain workforce, and that their representation declines dramatically on the upper parts of the corporate ladder. Just 9% of vice presidents in supply chain organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are people of color, according to the survey. Researchers said this mirrors other industries, and that supply chain organizations can lead DEI efforts by “creating an environment where diverse talent is valued, included, and developed,” according to Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of ASCM.
Organizations can work toward those goals by integrating DEI initiatives into the recruiting and pipeline planning processes, according to Stiffler.
“... In recruiting, that means diverse interview panels, diversity referral programs, summer internship programs for diverse students, blind resumé reviews, and diverse campus recruiting,” she said. “In integrated pipeline planning, it means re-designing recruiting, development, performance management, and succession planning to reduce bias.”