May 13, 2014, 1:02 AM

Women’s work: female purchasing chiefs report higher wages than men

When it comes to the position of chief of procuremen, supply management and sourcing, women last year reported earning on average nearly a third more than men, the Institute of Supply Management says in a report on its 2014 salary survey. Overall salaries in the field, however, dipped 2% last year from 2012.

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 Although their jobs aren’t getting any easier, professionals who manage procurement and relationships with suppliers earned slightly less on average last year than in 2012, the Institute of Supply Management, a trade association for supply chain professionals, says in a new report.

In its 2014 annual salary survey, which compiled data on 2013 compensation in January and February from 2,316 supply chain professionals, the institute found that the average salary last year dipped 2%, to $101,608 from $103,793 in 2012.

The institute notes that, for most supply chain management and procurement positions, men in this year’s survey reported earning on average about 6% to 21% more in annual salary than women—with one notable exception. For the top position of chief, procurement/supply management/sourcing, women earned on average 31.6% more than men, with an average annual salary for women of $364,091, compared with $276,622 for men. A spokeswoman for the institute says that higher-income women responded to this year’s survey, but that the survey data does not indicate that women in the chief level have more experience or higher credentials. “While we recommend looking at average chief procurement officer salary (not breaking by gender) to get some view of CPO compensation, we are pleased to report that highly valued and well compensated female CPOs have emerged,” she says. The overall average salary for the chief position last year was $295,037, up 8.1% from $272,979 in 2012.

Supply chain professionals manage such tasks as online and offline procurement of products, equipment and materials used in manufacturing and maintenance operations, and procurement of merchandise to be sold to retail customers. Supply chain professionals also get involved in finding new sources of products and materials and managing overall relationships with suppliers.

Such duties often require supply chain managers to have skills in such areas as using Internet-based e-sourcing systems for finding new suppliers, managing risk posed by cyber crime in online payment transactions, and managing “big data” applications that compile and analyze various sources of information shared with suppliers regarding production, customer demand, pricing and order shipments. Indeed, the institute offers training courses in such areas and related professional certifications: the Certified Professional in Supply Management, or CPSM, and Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity, or CPSD.

In its survey report, the ISM notes that survey respondents with the CPSM certification earned on average $103,415 last year, compared with $96,655 for those without any certification.

The ISM report also notes that the job market for supply chain professionals is facing pressure from opposing directions: While overall salaries dipped last year Paul Lee, the ISM’s director of research, says the recent dip in annual salary levels isn’t expected to continue. "Overall it was a year where employers appeared to be careful in managing their expenses and many organizations may have cut back on salaries and bonuses," he says. "However we do not feel this will have an adverse effect on salaries moving forward as there are signs that supply management remains an industry where competition for the top talent remains fierce."

The dip in salaries appears to be having an impact on how managers weigh job offers. Job candidates surveyed cited compensation as the most important factor when choosing among employment options.

The full 2014 salary report, which is free to ISM members, is available for a fee through the ISM’s web site, ISM.ws.

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