The technological advancements are paving the way for newer and better career opportunities but the representation of women continues to remain dismal. Gender equality has been an important global issue that has been highlighted in recent years. Particularly in the tech industry, it is an issue that continues to resurface as many tech companies still fall far behind in establishing truly diverse teams
Management consulting firm Zinnov in collaboration with Intel India released the findings of their study titled, Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity Benchmark. The report highlights that there is a 30% representation of women in corporate India. While 31% of women are a part of non-technical, a mere 26% represents in technical roles at corporates across India, the report added.
What this highlights is that gender equality is a real issue within the tech industry and that tech companies need to develop hiring practices that address this disparity. A good place to start is by understanding the differences in performance between genders and whether there are any factors that could systematically help or hinder this.
L’OREAL Paris released an ad on the importance of female hiring across roles. Take a look here
This advert sends out a powerful message. The Zinnov report further observed that the gender diversity ratio, which measures the number of women per 100 employees, at the workplace across Tier 1 cities stands at 31% and is slightly better than Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. This can be attributed to the presence of a large technology organization in these areas.
Bengaluru has the highest gender diversity ratio in India at s:mbai and Pune with 33% and 32%, respectively
Here are a few more statistics:
- At SAP Labs India, research arm of the business software maker, 34% of a 7,000 workforce comprises women.
- At Accenture India, one-third of the 1,50,000-strong team are women
- At Infosys, men still comprise 90% of the 300 senior-level workforce. Only three of its 15 executive vice-presidents are women.
- At Wipro, a mere 10% of the middle management comprises women.
- At Mindtree, only 6% of vice-presidents and above are women
- Capgemini India, led, till recently, by a woman, has 15% women in senior roles.
So, what’s the problem?
Most women drop out midway in their careers for a variety of reasons, their numbers shrinking in higher management. As industry veterans point out, it’s 3M – marriage, maternity, motherhood – disrupts careers and is the key reason for less women at senior levels.
Overall, multinationals (even in their India operations) tend to have more women in senior roles. For instance, around 15% senior level roles at Capgemini are with women while at SAP Labs India, it is 25%. At Accenture, globally, women accounted for almost one-third of promotions to managing director in 2017.
The industry also subjects them to the disparity in terms of promotions. Having analysed and interpreted data on the career trajectories of techies to managerial positions, a report has revealed that men on an average are promoted to management after 6 years of experience, while women, on the other hand, are promoted after 8 years. Women decide to quit their tech jobs and move towards marketing, product management, and consultancy. Currently, the representation of women at C-suite levels continues to be a dismal 7per cent. Hence, this leads to broader gender gaps, as workers gain more experience.
What Can be Done About This?
It is crucial to bridge the gap in this gender disparity within the industry. It is the technology companies and industry players that can influence a change. The study revealed that the major drop in numbers begins after the first five years of experience; at the same time women often take a break to start a family and do not return to their job. The tech industry can thus work towards paid maternity leaves to retain their women employees in addition to resolving the other problems of inequality.
Sincere efforts like HR policies on conveyance, flexible working hours, work-from-home, parental leave, anti-harassment policies and health care can together lead to a substantial rise in female employee retention.
The time has come to first ponder upon the lack of women’s representation and to create effective recruitment and retention strategies to rectify the situation. We have stepped into an era of liberty, justice, and pluralism; the Indian technological realm would surely change for the better.