Huge gender disparity in Indian workplaces, reveals Zinnov-Intel India gender diversity study

The study suggested having uniform women-friendly programmes across organisations and including men as allies to accelerate gender diversity in the workplace.

18th Dec 2019
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Why is the number of women working in Indian companies, still at an abysmal number? What are the impediments to their joining the workforce and remaining in it?


Zinnov, a global management consulting firm, in collaboration with Intel India, released the findings of its in-depth study titled, “Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity Benchmark”, as part of an industry initiative, Be-WISE (women innovators, social leaders, and entrepreneurs), which aims to accelerate inclusive participation of women in the workplace.


The gender diversity study evaluated 60 companies from the Indian business ecosystem, comprising Global Capability Centers (GCCs), technology service providers, startups, and Indian companies, to understand the current diversity landscape, with the intent of baselining key practices to improve diversity. It also analysed the statistics around gender diversity and various organisational policies and practices that give a comprehensive perspective of women in corporate India.


Key findings of the study:


There is a 30 percent representation of women in corporate India, with 31 percent and 26 percent representation within non-technical and technical roles, respectively.

While only 11 percent of senior women leaders are in the ecosystem, the junior and mid-levels fare slightly better at 38 percent and 20 percent, respectively.


Further, the number of women on company boards has increased from 5 percent in 2012 to 13 percent in 2018, thanks to the mandate of having at least one woman on every company’s board of directors.


The study also found that location matters when it comes to gender diversity. Bengaluru has the highest gender diversity at workplaces with 34 percent of women employees, followed by Mumbai, with 33 percent diversity, and Pune with 32 percent. The average gender diversity for Tier I cities stands at 31 percent and for Tier II and Tier III cities, at 25 percent.


While large companies have the highest gender representation at 33 percent, medium-sized firms have 27 percent and small companies, only 21 percent.


Global MNCs are comprised of 25 percent women employees, while domestic MNCs employ 30 percent women and non-MNCs, 31 percent.


The study also found that even though women make up 48.2 percent of India’s population, a huge gender disparity continues to exist in Indian workplaces.


Most companies surveyed have been running diversity programmes for many years, resulting in making modest progress. However, the numbers have still failed to move the needle; the big leap is missing. To make significant progress in including women in the workplace, companies across the board need to align on a few common priorities and themes, and more importantly, collaborate. The Be-WISE initiative helps organisations focus on a few common areas and provides a platform for companies to collaborate and learn from each other.


Speaking about the study’s findings, Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov, said,


“Concerted efforts over the years have moved the needle from 21 percent to 30 percent for the diversity numbers. However, the commitment to change needs to move beyond an organisational setting and include an ecosystem-wide lens. Enabling science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options for young women, supporting women-led startups, and encouraging other women entrepreneurs are some of the more impactful initiatives that organisations need to actively look at.”


Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India, and Vice President of Data Center Group, Intel Corp said,


“Intel India is deeply committed to advancing women’s participation in India’s economy and steering its progress through collaboration with the industry, government, and academia. I believe, the Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity study offers valuable data, insights, and industry best practices that would be instrumental in furthering the goal of `Be-WISE’, to accelerate inclusive participation of women in the workplace. It is my hope that we can learn from one another and collaborate to create a truly gender diverse and inclusive industry.”


Founded in 2002, Zinnov is a global management and strategy consulting firm, with a presence in Santa Clara, Houston, Bengaluru, and Gurugram. Over the last 17 years, Zinnov has successfully consulted with over 250+ Fortune 500 customers to develop actionable insights that help them in their transformation journeys.


(Edited by Suman Singh)


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