The CIPS Procurement Power List 2021 has been launched showcasing the best leadership skills in the profession.
The 25 have been chosen because they have “real credibility in the wider procurement community” and a “reputation for delivering”, said Malcolm Harrison, group CEO, CIPS.
Speaking during a launch webinar Harrison said: “The CIPS Procurement Power List is a benchmark of the effect procurement can have on organisations. It’s showcasing some of the best leaders who are really engaged with major change or transformational projects.”
A panel discussion on diversity in the profession heard 60% of people on the 10-strong On The Move list were women and it was hoped women would make up 50% of the main list “in the next year or two”.
“We don’t have any targets in terms of diversity, I think that would be the wrong thing to do, but this does reflect that we are getting greater diversity, be that ethnic diversity, gender diversity, in that leadership community, and that’s fantastic to see,” said Harrison.
The webinar was told women had struggled more during the pandemic. Lucy Harding, partner and global head of the procurement & supply chain practice at Odgers Berndtson, said: “We have lost females at all levels of organisations because of the competing priorities of home pressure, family, work.”
Angela Qu, CPO at Lufthansa Group, said the pandemic “made many people, especially women, think what is important in life, work or family, that is one of the reasons why a lot of women quit jobs during the pandemic”.
She said she held regular “virtual lunch breaks” with female colleagues to share thoughts and offer support.
Harding said an emerging issue was supporting women “at the latter stage of their career when they go through menopause”.
“We focus on filling the hopper at the graduate end, the mid career, supporting working families, with very little attention on the deep picture we’re getting at the senior end of a woman’s career,” she said.
“We need to keep working to support those really talented women in the workplace when they have a wealth of experience and wisdom to offer and helping them through that period.”
Rachael Legg, chief procurement and property officer at science and chemicals company Johnson Matthey, said the organisation had a target for 40% of management positions to be held by women by 2030. “We are now engaging with our people to ensure we can support our talented women through the menopause,” she added.
Rob Woodstock, chief commercial officer at HMRC, said the murder of George Floyd had been a turning point in the organisation.
“We have had black employees talk about their experience of work through the sad experience last year of George Floyd’s murder,” he said. “That was the point when our work on race moved from being the responsibility of their network to something that everyone needed to understand and lean into.
“We had really difficult experience-sharing moments and colleagues really responded well. We’ve delivered training to everyone on how to support colleagues, micro behaviours, how we recruit, but actually in day-to-day working if you see something that isn’t right, to know what to do about it.”
Qu said she worked to make procurement more inclusive by bringing in people with varied personality types from different backgrounds, such sales, marketing, and finance.
“This is leadership’s task to know the diversity of their team and address those needs. You create a platform where people can shine together in different forms,” she said.
Harding said evidence showed diverse organisations were more successful. “There is a direct correlation between profitability and financial success and the diversity of organisations,” she said. “There is definitely a business case for it. We shouldn’t need one, but there is.”
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