IT Cos Hire More Women in Tech Roles

NEW PARADIGM Companies bridge the gender gap across levels through hiring as well as initiatives such as leadership development programmes

Indian and multinational companies in the information technology sector are seeing a steady growth in number of women in technical roles, reflecting the impact of their efforts to increase diversity .

Traditionally , the IT industry has been haunted by allegations of lack of diversity , gender gap being the major one. However, companies are now making a conscious effort to bridge the gender gap across levels and the initiatives they are taking are geared towards attracting and retaining the best of women professionals.

Recently , Google in its diversity report said 21% of tech hires last year were women, boosting the overall number of women in technical roles by 1%.“Though we still have a long way to go, we’re seeing some early progress,“ the company said in a Google+ post.

Companies like Capgemini and Tech Mahindra too admit to having witnessed an increase in the number of women in technical roles. Others such as Infosys, Microsoft and Wipro declined to comment on numbers but said they have introduced a slew of initiatives aimed at nurturing women techies.

At Capgemini, the total female headcount in technical roles has gone up over the past three years with the diver sity ratio increasing to 26% so far in 2015 from 24.2% in 2013 to 25.7% in 2014 .

The company has also hired more women engineers from campus this year at 43.1%, up from 39.2% in 2014.Capgemini has a 26% representation of women in technology roles and an overall representation of close to 28% women in India.

Some of its efforts to improve women’s representation at senior levels include engagement on social platforms, creating communities, additional incentive payout to vendor partners for diversity and hiring women in a specific business unit or for critical skills, women leadership development programmes and building women’s presence beyond their circle of influence.

“While we believe in attracting the most suitable talent from the available pool, we continually build an enabling work culture for our women,“ said Gayathri Ramamurthy , India diversity and inclusion lead at Capgemini. “Our overall diversity percentage has consistently been on the rise and this naturally reflects in women in technology roles,“ she added. The company does not, however, believe in setting targets for hiring women as that can lead to impacting quality of hire or a forced method of achieving the same.

Others such as Tech Mahindra have set a target to increase the gender diversity to 30% across the organisation.The company currently has 26.5% women in tech roles and 28% overall. In addition to this, it has been hiring 50% of women graduates who are freshers from colleges and universities.

“Optimising the capabilities and leveraging the strengths of our women employees will serve as a strategic differentiator for us. Building women leaders by enabling them with opportunities to unleash their potential and contribute to business success is a key focus area at Tech Mahindra,“ said Sucharita Palepu, global head -people policies and practices at Tech Mahindra.

Adds Richard Lobo, head of employee relations at Infosys, “We are witnessing positive signs in this direction… We also believe in hiring the best talent that will bring in diverse skills, backgrounds and understanding, to boost our business and economic performance.“

In October, The Women of Color magazine honoured 13 Infos honoured 13 Infoscions with the `Women of Color in Technology’ awards that recognises and honours the exceptional achievements of women who excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the US. About 35.1% of its total workforce comprises women.

Wipro hires an equal number of men and women engineers from campuses for technical roles, said Priyanka Sudarshan, general manager, human resources. The company recently launched the `Women in Technology’ initiative to offer mentoring and peer group support for women employees who want to pursue a career in technology .

Others such as Microsoft India are consistently adopting new approaches to enhance the diversity ratio both within the organisation and the industry. Over the years, Microsoft has undertaken various initiatives to reduce skill shortage and gender imbalance in the technology sector.

Last year, the company launched an initiative called `Women in Tech’ aimed at developing the potential of aspiring women IT professionals. Through Women in Tech Summits, hackathons and camps, the programme allows engagement with women across the country at various educational levels to build and boost their interest in pursuing a career in the IT industry.

“India has recently witnessed a steady increase in female enrolment in IT fields… However, a large number of women workers are entry-level and present in certain sectors, such as BPO and IT-enabled services. This is why we are focused on enhancing the diversity ratio in India’s IT sector, for we believe women in IT can have a strong business impact,“ said Rohit Thakur, head of human resources, Microsoft India.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 16th June 2015

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