As CEO of a global recruitment company, I see it as a moral and professional privilege to support International Women’s Day.

Most global businesses we work with want to address their shortage of female leaders. There is a will to recruit more women into senior positions – but in many regions, there simply isn’t a big enough pool of female candidates to redress the balance.

It is difficult to fathom that in an industry routinely paying six-figure salaries, there would be a struggle to recruit.

However, in the week when the world marked International Women’s Day, scores of female leaders from global corporations such as Converse, Mondi, and Coca-Cola Refreshments, told us that issues remain – such as a lack of female role models within industry. Elsewhere, others even told of experiencing blatant discriminatory behaviour from male counterparts.

The message is that a significant amount of progress has been made – but there is still a lot of work to be done.

We work every day with organisations operating across the supply chain and know from experience that it is not necessarily a path women commonly take. It still can be very male dominated, but this need not necessarily be a barrier – as shown by professionals such as Pirjo Virtanen, Vice President, Operations and Site Manager at Metso a €2.6 billion company serving the mining, aggregates and oil and gas industries. She confirms that diversity is now firmly on the agenda, with an industry realisation that there has to be a balance of men and women.

I founded Proco Global in 2008 in response to a very obvious gap in the market – senior level recruitment focused solely on supply chains (Procurement, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Engineering and Quality & Operational Excellence). Since then, we have worked hard to recruit a balanced workforce – irrespective of gender, race or sexuality. As a result, we have achieved a strong balance of male and female candidates (53% of all employees are female). In total, 38% of people at manager level and above are women. Our operational board already has 66% female representation, but we are determined to do more.

As a leading global recruiter, we believe it is important to open the debate and encourage industry to think about diversity, which is why in conjunction with International Women’s Day we produced a dedicated website to celebrate the achievements of women working across the supply chain

We don’t have all of the answers which is why we want to help start the conversation.

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