Senior level women working in the UK wholesale industry has increased from 11% to 17% over the past three years, according to a HIM & MCA insight study, commissioned by Women in Wholesale (WiW).
This means that since the WiW initiative was launched in 2016, in order to support educational networking events, sponsorships and coaching, the overall number has increased by 55%.
Companies that have successfully boosted their female leadership teams include Sugro, Musgrave, Reynolds, Country Range, CJ Lang, Blakemore, Birchall and Booker.
The research also revealed changes in the “key barriers to progress” that were cited by women two years ago in a HIM & WiW report, with flexible working now a big issue for 15% of respondents, compared to the 2017 figure of 53%.
“Many businesses are now looking at practical ways to make flexible and remote working an option,” said WiW founder Elit Rowland. “The FWD’s work with job-design agency Timewise was a key catalyst in this.”
Key barriers to progress still include a lack of personal career development (57%) feeling motivated and inspired at work (31%) and a lack of respect (28%), compared with 51%, 34% and 38% respectively, in 2017.
Natasha Vink, research manager at HIM & MCA Insight, added: “These results show positive improvement, with a greater proportion of senior exec roles across the wholesale industry being filled by women. However, there is more to be done and this piece of research, in addition to the work of WiW, is pivotal to driving change and highlighting the challenges women face across the sector.”
Other interesting highlights from the report include 57% of female respondents and 30% of male respondents saying they have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace. 66% of females said that gender diversity is more of an issue for wholesale than it is for other grocery and convenience sectors, an improvement of 81% in 2017.