Equal measures

12 February 2013
David Noble, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & SupplyWe’ve just completed the CIPS Negotiation Challenge 2013 in partnership with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academies and made an even bigger splash than last year. Targeted at college students aged 16 to 18, it is designed to promote procurement as the profession of choice for young people looking for an exciting career. What impressed me most last year was the calibre of talent on display and the fact that these young people were so open to the idea of our profession and what it could offer them. What was also really encouraging was the number of young women taking part and their conviction that gender would not limit their professional ambitions. Statistics published by the House of Commons Library for the years 2001 to 2010 (Data on Women in Public Life) show that procurement was one of the fastest-growing professions for women during the past decade. In 2001, around 39 per cent of buyers and purchasing officers were female. By 2010 this had jumped to 51.6 per cent, a rate of growth second only to journalists and broadcasters among the professions listed in the study. Our membership profile, meanwhile, is moving towards a 50:50 split with each new intake of students. However, while pay and promotion are pretty much equal at the start of a procurement career, the story is different when you reach the higher levels – a familiar pattern across the professions generally and one we’ve featured in SM before. So how can CIPS help to promote opportunities for women in procurement? Leading by example is one way. Of our current board of 12 members, six are women, including our current president. This isn’t the result of a quota, it’s the result of people being chosen on merit because they have a proven track record. We are also encouraging more female CPOs to apply for Fellowship and play an active part in the Fellows’ network. And at the other end of the scale, initiatives like the Negotiation Challenge are helping us to attract talented young people with drive and ambition into procurement by giving them the tools for success. Tough times for code breakers A cautious welcome to the new supermarket ombudsman, Christine Tacon, who will 
have the job of policing 
the Groceries Supply Code 
of Practice. Once the bill creating the new post of groceries code adjudicator is passed later this year, Tacon will be able to name and shame supermarkets that deal unfairly or unlawfully with their suppliers. The code itself has already been in place for a couple of years and what’s not yet clear is how much difference this post will make. Initially, the adjudicator will make ‘recommendations’ for improvements in canadian viagra practice, and fines will be a last resort. Will that be enough to get big supermarkets turning over £1 billion a year to comply? If the recent horse meat scandal is anything to go by, 
it is only when consumer confidence is at stake that 
they move fast, so public naming and shaming might 
be more effective than 
financial penalties. The focus on making sure major first-tier suppliers have fair contracts is fine as far as it goes, but to what extent will this protect the small producers and manufacturers who in turn supply them?
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