21 June 2007 | Antony Barton
Buyers have rejected claims women are naturally better at the soft skills needed in procurement.
While some respondents to the SM poll of 100 buyers thought women were better at building relationships with suppliers and reading body language, 60 per cent disagreed. Almost six out of 10 who said women were more adept were male. More than a quarter who denied it were female.
Some said female buyers exploit soft skills more than men, but aren't necessarily better at them. Others said female dependence on these skills risks harming the perception of women in business. Devron Cariba, procurement and contract co-ordinator for London Development Agency, said: "The number of women working in procurement is significantly lower than the number of men, so men have had to find their feet in the soft and hard pools of skills."