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Here’s How ExxonMobil is Working to Address the Gender Imbalance in Supply Chains
Gender diversity is a hot subject across many industries today, with campaigners working hard to make sure women are equally represented in the workplace alongside their male counterparts. In full support, ExxonMobil is taking active steps to attract more females to supply chain work.
The Supply Chain’s Gender Problem
According to the most recent figures, women make up 37% of today’s supply chain workforce. When it comes to top-level or executive supply chain positions, women only account for 15% of the roles. This gap is necessitating change to attract women to the supply industry at all levels, but particularly in those high-level positions.
Compounding the recruitment problem, the Wall Street Journal published research which shows a gender pay gap in the supply chain industry, with men earning on average 29% more than women. “Experts say a range of factors play into the gender pay gap, including discrimination and different career choices. These 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.
As technology and automation has become more commonplace in supply chain work, the image of the industry as a blue-collar field which is heavily reliant on manual labour has shifted. This is opening doors to new opportunities that everyone should be able to take advantage of.
When it comes to the developing world – in which much of ExxonMobil’s oil and gas business is carried out – the company firmly believes that identifying and investing in women-owned companies not only makes sense from a position of equality, but yields tangible benefits to the communities in which they live.
Women are more likely to invest their money in education, community causes, health care, homes, and families. This helps to create more stable communities, often in parts of the world where such stability is scarce. “We fundamentally know that particularly in a lot of the developing world where a lot of our activities are in the oil and gas business, investing in women-owned businesses is shown to bring more value to the community,” said President of ExxonMobil’s Global Services Company, Linda DuCharme.
Investing in women-owned businesses is also smart for the bottom line. ExxonMobil, of course, has a responsibility to make intelligent business decisions which will benefit its shareholders. This means there must be a good business reason to target women-owned businesses, beyond the positive impact it has on their own communities. ExxonMobil spends over half a billion dollars every year investing in women-owned businesses because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it yields profit.
WEConnect is an international operation which strives to empower thousands of women business owners all around the globe to make the most of opportunities, to create those opportunities, and succeed in what is still a very male-centric world.
WEConnect works with women, especially in the developing world, to inspire more of them to own businesses. It doesn’t end with inspiration however, as the organisation also provides help with acquiring seed funding and offers support throughout the process.
“It’s the challenge of first of all getting more and more women to actually own businesses, particularly in some of the developing world where we work,” said DuCharme. “And that’s again where WEConnect comes in to help people get the skills that they need to actually run businesses. There’s also a lot of partners within countries that help to provide the funding to start some of these seed businesses. It’s a supply issue for us. It’s not necessarily a demand issue.”
Working with WEConnect, ExxonMobil can identify women-owned businesses in the countries in which it wants to operate. The process involves meeting with community leaders and government officials to help them understand which women-owned businesses are available in the region, and what services they offer which may be of use to ExxonMobil’s supply chain. They can then take the initiative in reaching out to these businesses and monitor the results.
Gender equality is something that all businesses should be taking seriously, and it’s great to see big companies such as ExxonMobil taking proactive steps to help address the disparity.
Gender roles in the supply chain industry is set to be a hot topic at LogiChem 2019, taking place in March at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam. Download the agenda today for more information and insights.