The pay gap between men and women in supply chain careers that had been narrowing over the past few years reached a milestone in 2020 as women under 40 reported earning higher paychecks than their male counterparts for the first time, according to an industry survey published this week.
The Association for Supply Chain Management’s (ASCM) 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report polled 2,200 industry professionals about their annual pay and benefits as well as other career attributes, including job stability, satisfaction, and career opportunities. According to the report, women under the age of 40 earned a median salary of $81,000 annually while men in the same age group reported earning a median salary of $79,000 annually. Survey data for women and men over 40 painted a different picture: The difference between men and women’s salaries in that age group ranges from $12,000 to $23,000, with men earning more, according to the report.
“...it is difficult to say why pay disparities still remain for those over 40—whether these women began their careers at lower salaries or stepped out of the workforce to care for families,” the authors wrote. “Either way, ASCM strongly encourages companies to incorporate policies that ensure women are supported and primed for continuing professional growth.”
In addition to examining gender differences, for the first time ASCM added race and ethnicity questions to the survey in order to "gain a better understanding of diversity issues in supply chain and to identify specific areas for improvement," according to ASCM. White respondents reported a median salary 12% higher than Black respondents and 14% higher than Latino respondents, according to the results; the difference was less for Asian respondents.
The ethnicity analysis is part of a larger effort to highlight the benefits and importance of diversity in supply chain roles, ASCM also said. Earlier this year, the group joined forces with Gartner for a research report that surveyed North American and European supply chain organizations on their "diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) priorities, representation, and actions to attract, develop, engage, and advance people of color," the group also said.
“It’s not enough to just report these disparities; supply chain organizations must lead the way by creating [an] environment where diverse talent is valued, included, and developed,” ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, said in a statement announcing the findings. “The need for supply chain professionals has never been greater, so now is the time to expand the aperture to include diversity of thought, influence, and input—particularly for women and people of color.”
The report also illustrates the resiliency of supply chain careers during the pandemic, with most respondents reporting job stability as well as new career opportunities over the past year. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they remained in their jobs and more than half—59%—said they felt no economic impact from the pandemic. What’s more, salaries continued to rise, as did workloads and the need for upskilling in digital supply chain, leadership, and supply chain risk management, according to the report.
Other findings include:
The median salary for a supply chain professional is $86,000, 38% above the national median salary. The typical starting salary for individuals entering the supply chain industry is $60,000.
81% of respondents said they are satisfied with their benefits and almost 70% said they receive paid maternity, paternity, and medical leave.
Whether just graduating college or already working in the field, about one-third of respondents said they found a job in less than a month. More than half secured employment within three months of starting their search.
Job satisfaction levels remain high across the industry as well, with nearly 90% of respondents saying they have a positive outlook on their career. See the ASCM website for more information or to download the report.
Victoria Kickham started her career as a newspaper reporter in the Boston area before moving into B2B journalism. She has covered manufacturing, distribution and supply chain issues for a variety of publications in the industrial and electronics sectors, and now writes about everything from forklift batteries to omnichannel business trends for DC Velocity.