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The State of Supplier Diversity in 2022

Supplier.io’s 5th State of Supplier Diversity Report is s the continuation of an initiative that extends back to 2017 and reflects the growth and maturity of supplier diversity programs as well as the impact of overarching trends in the economy, geopolitics, and society.

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This week, supplier.io released its fifth State of Supplier Diversity Report. This report is the continuation of an initiative that extends back to 2017 and reflects the growth and maturity of supplier diversity programs as well as the impact of overarching trends in the economy, geopolitics, and society.

As with any professional research effort, each annual report starts with a list of questions and high expectations, but it is impossible to know what story is going to emerge until the analysis begins.

General Trends in Supplier Diversity

The 2022 State of Supplier Diversity Report saw the highest level of participation to date, with over 200 companies of different sizes and industries sharing their current status, best practices, operational challenges, and vision for the future.

The programs that participated in this year’s survey include new supplier diversity programs as well as mature ones, with 34 percent of the 2022 respondents reporting that their programs have been in place for over ten years. In 2017, this group was only 4 percent of the total. This significant increase demonstrates a lasting level of corporate commitment to supplier diversity and the long-term business value generated because of that commitment.

While the creation of new supplier diversity programs slowed from the peak reported last year, the 21 percent of programs that are less than one year old in 2022 still represent a higher level of new program formation than any other year tracked by the report.

The scope of the survey was deliberately broad and included questions on business case, leadership commitment, program infrastructure, and policy and progress. External factors such as output measurement, marketing communications, and advocacy and engagement were addressed, as was supplier development.

Just shy of half (45 percent) of the respondents represent formally established programs, while 19 percent track diverse supplier spend without the support of a formal program and 12 percent are in the earliest stages of program implementation.

Another positive sign for the strength of the supplier diversity movement is the increase in companies taking a global approach. In 2022, global supplier diversity programs make up 13.2 percent of respondents, compared to 8 percent just one year ago.

Key Report Data Points

In a discipline evolving as rapidly as supplier diversity, it is critical to allow the data to speak for itself, rather than looking for ways to validate preconceived notions or make specific points.

Three key data points in this year’s report underpin all the other findings. They are the focus of the executive summary and receive thorough interpretation and detailed quantitative backing throughout the report:

  • 81 percent of respondents indicated alignment with corporate culture and workforce inclusiveness is a primary driver of their supplier diversity program. This represents a substantial shift from the compliance-related drivers we have observed in the past.
  • 39 percent of companies surveyed include diversity metrics in management’s performance objectives. Leadership engagement is very high, but accountability is low and represents an important topic for further consideration.
  • 59 percent of respondents indicated securing adequate staffing and budget is “somewhat to extremely challenging” in their organization.

In the coming weeks, we will dig further into what these findings mean and how supplier diversity managers and programs can learn from them to continue growing the impact they have on their company as well as the communities supported by certified diverse suppliers.

Download the State of Supplier Diversity Report.

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