15 September 2008 | Jake Kanter
Women continue to be underrepresented in senior purchasing roles.
Sarah Lim (pictured), partner in the global supply chain practice at Spencer Stuart, said although there are equal opportunities for women to secure top procurement jobs, having children often interrupts their careers.
It follows a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which found women are progressing at a "snail's pace" in securing equal representation in top business positions. It found only 11 per cent of FTSE 100 directors are women and they are also underrepresented in public sector roles, such as senior police officer posts.
"Women in the [procurement] profession will usually reach the level of category manager and then decide to have a family," Lim explained. "It can be difficult for them to return to work in a heavyweight role. It's a question of appetite and the support infrastructure available. Large organisations are usually better, particularly now when there is a greater focus on diversity."
Tilly Harvey-Godfrey, professional services category manager at AXA, agreed opportunities are available for women to become CPOs. "There's sometimes a traditional view that men are better negotiators - that's rubbish."