Room for women?
It seems room is now being made for women in senior and middle-management positions within the largest companies in India. In fact, headhunters are being asked to shortlist women for management roles – this according to The Economic Times which says that Blue chip India is rolling out the red carpet for women professionals.
Companies like Bharti Enterprises, American Express, Wal-Mart, Shell, IBM and Microsoft are using a variety of policies to promote gender diversity. While American Express asks for at least one-third representation among those appearing for job interviews, it’s 25-30% for Bharti. According to Inder Walia, Bharti’s HR head, Bharti group flagship Airtel will soon have a woman at a very senior position, as part of its gender diversity programme. At present women comprise around 20% of the group’s total workforce.
Wal-Mart and Shell, who both have a global gender policy say they are trying to implement the same policy in India. The technology sector too is jumping on the bandwagon. IBM, whose employee base in India is 53,000, has 26% representation of women. They are offering special incentives to recruitment consultants in order to get more qualified women professionals into the organisation.
It is thought that although gender diversity programs actually began as part of employer branding initiatives, it is the talent crunch that is driving companies towards adopting more women-friendly policies. Presently it is estimated that 25% of the IT and ITeS workforce in India is female. This figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming months.
Studies have shown that a diverse workforce is always a better business proposition. The dynamics and culture in an organisation undergo a significant change when there is gender balance. Emphasis is being placed worldwide on leveraging individual differences for business advantage. The participation of women has always been seen to enhance a company’s overall performance.
So what is happening in Pakistan? Does anyone have any statistics? Yes, there are a growing number of women in the workforce but still nowhere near enough. What are we doing to change that? Or are we waiting for the talent crunch to hit (some say it already has) before we start looking at attracting more women into our organisations?
IT & IT Enabled service companies in Pakistan are facing a shortage of good quality workers. Some of them are already starting to incorporate flexi-time and work-from-home programs as part of their HR policies. Women have been found to be much more dedicated and quality-driven. They take ownership of projects. They are naturals at juggling numerous tasks and carrying them to fruition without a hitch. Companies who don’t recruit and retain women have no idea what they are missing.
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