by Michelle Armstrong, Chief Relationship Officer
“Digital transformation will not happen without women in procurement.” – Kevin Peesker, President Worldwide SMC & Digital at Microsoft
In a captivating August 2019 article in Italy’s The Procurement Magazine, Jon Hansen shared an insightful interview with the then-president of Microsoft Canada, Kevin Peesker. Today, Mr. Peesker holds the title of Microsoft’s President Worldwide SCM & Digital.
In the article, Hansen highlights a powerful statement by the Microsoft leader: without more women in tech – and STEM professions overall, digital transformation will not happen.
Let’s explore the significance of this statement and the role of women in the digital transformation journey.
Compelling Figures: Time for Progress
When a top executive from a global technology giant like Microsoft emphasizes the importance of women for digital transformation success, the world takes notice. But will this attention lead to sustainable and progressive change? It’s time to move beyond mere agreement and take action to bring more women into the technology industry with equal opportunities and pay.
According to Tech Funnel’s April 2023 article, a mere 25% of workers in technology are women, and an even more disappointing 11% occupy executive positions. These statistics are from 2023 – four years after Hansen’s article.
Additionally, gender diversity in tech leadership fell from 86% in 2020 to 59% in 2021. However, a few positive notes also emerged during this time, like the percentage of women working for Apple increasing from 30% in 2014 to 35% in 2021. And overall, the percentage of women in the tech industry grew by 2% between 2019 and 2021.
Despite these small victories, we cannot ignore the following data:
- 57% of women in tech feel burned out at work, compared to 36% of men.
- 1 in 5 women in tech is considering leaving their job.
- 75% of women in tech are consistently asked to handle more administrative tasks.
So, where does this leave us – men and women alike – in the quest for gender equality in high-tech?
Overcoming Digital Transformation Challenges with Women at the Helm
Digital transformation is impossible without more women “in” procurement and leadership positions across various industries. The key to digital success lies in where that “in” resides.
Tech Funnel reports that gender-diverse leadership teams are “48% more likely to outperform their competitors.” Additionally, diverse management teams generally produce better EBITA results, with HBR stating that margins for more diverse companies are higher than those struggling to gain traction.
Focusing on the tech industry and, more specifically, the digital transformation of the procurement industry, a 2019 Deloitte global survey of CPOs revealed dissatisfaction with their digital transformation strategies, and this was just before the pandemic.
In 2023, numerous reports cite poor data quality, lack of transparency, and failure to adopt technology as the top challenges CPOs face today.
While the lack of women in leadership roles in the tech industry – or any industry – may not be the sole or primary reason for companies’ struggles with digital transformation, it is undeniably a critical factor. A 2018 study on “the influence of gender on the adoption of technology among SMEs” is an excellent starting point for understanding our roles and impact on adopting cognitive procurement solutions, including AI.
Let’s keep the conversation going and empower women to shape the future of technology.
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