We recently celebrated International Women’s Day with corporate India raising a toast to women who have achieved remarkable successes despite several challenges they have had to face. It is heartening to observe how confidence and perseverance are enabling women to reach dizzying heights in their careers. IT-ITeS industry by virtue of its proximity and access to global customers has a ringside view of the transition taking place in the styles and functioning of businesses; it is one of the first sectors to recognise the contribution women could make and has started to take strides in signalling this intention.
A McKinsey report shows that companies with gender-balanced executive committees have a 56% higher operating profit compared to companies with male-only companies. Another study conducted by Catalyst shows a 26% difference in return on invested capital between companies with 19-44% women board directors as compared with those who had no women on their boards.
Hence increasingly IT-ITeS industry is working towards hiring and retaining larger percentage of women in their workforce, recognising the value women executives are capable of bringing to their workplace through their unique characteristics they can benefit from namely, multitasking, paying attention to detail, conflict resolution, ability to deal with fuzziness, flexibility and creativity required for problem solving and innovation. These are some of the key capabilities in demand today as businesses are redefining the new leadership capabilities required for building and sustaining successful businesses and women have a natural advantage in contributing to this new leadership construct.
A McKinsey study confirms that services sector employs the maximum percentage of women employees. Within this sector, financial services, insurance, professional services and media and entertainment industries employ the largest percentage of women. Currently IT-ITeS industry average of females in the workforce is 35% which is far better than the manufacturing sector. With the bulk of the headcount of services arms of several IT-ITeS businesses emanating from India, naturally these companies are keen to build a healthy ratio of women in their workforce.
The landscape of Indian women talent available to IT-ITES industry is transforming at a stupendous pace. While this pool is being tapped largely by other services sectors also, the industry is pleased with the positive experiences of women with the industry so far and hence the resultant potential for further expansion of this talent pool. This can be gleaned from the rapidly changing status of women in higher education in the country.