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Men vs. Women in Contract & Commercial Management

November 19, 2019

The field of Contract & Commercial Management still has some way to go in creating equality between male and female professionals. It begins with the finding that overall just 32% of the community are women and is compounded by the fact that they are less than half as likely to be in a senior management role. This is especially the case in Procurement, where the ratio of women is just under 30% (compared with 40% in sales contracting).

Geographies and Industries

There is substantial variation in the male:female ratio between geographies, with North America standing at 58:42, compared with 64:36 in Europe and 89:11 in the Middle East. Asia, Oceania and Africa each show an approximate 80:20 ratio.

As with other professional groups, there are substantial differences between industries, with the health sector being closest to equality (53:47), followed closely by the public sector (55:45) and aerospace and defense (57:43). Bringing up the rear are engineering and construction (82:18) and manufacturing (78:22).

Education and Attitudes

The groups show broad similarity in background education and professional qualifications, with 57% in each case holding a professional qualification and 81% of women with a bachelor’s degree or above, compared with 90% of men.

Attitudes about CCM as a career path are also very similar, with over 70% in each case expressing some concern about its limits while at the same time saying that they like their job. The things they like are mostly similar – for example, challenging work, flexible hours, the work environment and feeling that they are contributing to business success. There are differences. For women, being able to work from home is a significant benefit, whereas men are more motivated by the level of pay. Primary dislikes for each are failure to invest in people and company culture.

Men and women agree that communication is the number one skill for performing the CCM role, but in second place for women is relationship management and interpersonal skills, whereas for men it is analytical skills. However, women are not dismissing the importance of analytics because they identified ‘An increased ability to work with data and analytics to drive change or value’ as the number one priority for the future. Men selected ‘An increased ability to influence senior management’ as their priority.


Overall, the findings from the 2019 IACCM Talent Survey show that the differences in attitude, approach and background between male and female professionals are minor. The only big difference is in the numbers being attracted to the role and the opportunities for growth that it then provides. In this, we are not alone and nor is the situation as bad as in some job roles – but it is clearly an area we must continue to challenge and improve.

The IACCM Talent Survey was conducted in the period July – September 2019 and this article is a small extract from the overall findings, which will be discussed in greater depth in a Thought Leadership webinar on December 9th (visit the events section at for more details and to register to attend). 



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