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Women favor logistics careers despite challenges
Even though they still must deal with an "old boys'" network in the workplace, respondents to the "2006 Career Patterns for Women in Logistics" study are bullish on logistics as a career. Ninety percent of the respondents said that the opportunities for building a sound professional career in logistics were better today than ever before.
Yet at the same time, 63 percent either agreed or strongly agreed that the old boys' networks (informal networking or support group for men) and stereotyping that they encounter at work could hinder their ability to lead in their organizations. Other findings seem to bear that out: Only 12 percent of respondents had a female supervisor, and only 13 percent said that the supervisor's supervisor was female.
[Figure 1] Which characteristics contributed most to your success? Enlarge this image
Some 169 women took part in this study conducted by Martha Cooper of The Ohio State University and the Air Force Institute of Technology, John Santos of The Ohio State University, and Angela Lewis of Florida A&M University. The authors caution that the survey's results should not be generalized to all women in logistics or even all female CSCMP members because they are not representative of the profession as a whole. Indeed, the majority of respondents tended to be in upper management: 36 percent indicated that they were managers, 27 percent were directors, 12 percent were vice presidents, and 7 percent were company presidents.
When asked which characteristics contributed to their success, most pointed to personal qualities such as dedication, hard work, determination, "big picture" understanding, and leadership skills. Interestingly, respondents did not feel that having a good education in logistics/operations was as important a factor in their success (see Figure 1).
A good portion of the survey focused on the respondents' views of their own leadership styles. Even though they believed they had not yet reached the peak of their careers, 94 percent of respondents still saw themselves as leaders. More respondents said they had a participative (50 percent) rather than a directive (25 percent) leadership style, and one-quarter reported using a combination of the two approaches. Most respondents said their management style combined "taking the lead" with "building by consensus."
Overall, most respondents (73 percent) are satisfied with their current positions. According to the survey, these women like being logistics professionals because their jobs are fastpaced and challenging, require them to use many different areas of expertise, and make them feel that they are making a difference.
[Source: "2006 Career Patterns of Women in Logistics;" Martha C. Cooper, John Santosa, and Angela Lewis; Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, 2006: www.cscmp.org/website/career/patterns.asp.]
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