Women’s path to leadership still an uphill journey, says study

While women’s representation at entry levels has moved up 5% in five years, there continues to be a 50% slump when it comes to women in senior roles, states the seventh edition of Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) study.

Women’s path to leadership still an uphill journey, says study

Tuesday October 18, 2022,

3 min Read

The seventh edition of Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) study has revealed that while representation of women at entry levels continues to increase from 33% in 2017 to 38% in 2022, the female talent pipeline continues to bleed. Their presence in managerial roles goes down by 9% (23% in 2017 and 26% in women in 2022), and further dips to 18% at the senior managerial level, and 17% at the corporate executive level.

The study also noted that women leading business units were stagnant at 14% between 2017 and 2022, and there was a slump in the percentage of women direct reports to CEOs from 17% in 2017 to 16% in 2022.

The study, which commenced in February 2022, saw 351 companies spanning different industry sectors take part and answer over 300 questions across seven key areas. 

Avtar also announced the fourth edition of the Avtar & Seramount Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI). which recognises companies whose inclusion intent transcends all diversity dimensions. Amongst the companies featured in the 100 best companies for women in India list, 33% were Indian companies and the rest were multinationals.

According to the report, the 2022 Top 10 Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India, listed A-Z alphabetically are:

  • Accenture Solutions Private Ltd.
  • Barclays in India
  • Citi India
  • EY
  • Genpact India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Infosys Limited
  • Mastercard India
  • Tech Mahindra Limited
  • ZS Associates India Pvt. Ltd.

Saundarya Rajesh, Founder-President, Avtar said, “Women’s representation continues to improve when we looked at a five-year data frame. However, we must note that the increase is primarily because of more women at the entry level. With an equitable talent supply at this level (49.5% of college graduates in India today are women), pursuing gender balance at the entry point is non-negotiable at 100 Best. However, as we move up the talent pipeline, the drop in representation of women at senior levels is stark. This is despite the robust career enhancement programmes at these companies – with 98% of 100 Best companies providing mentoring support to women, 94% providing executive coaching, and 97% having ERGs for women.”

She further added, “To ensure that we are able to permeate balance across corporate levels and build the women’s leadership pipeline, concerted organisational and societal efforts are required. Celebrating women leaders and sharing their stories of success, nurturing a culture of allyship and advocacy, conducting periodic audits of HR processes to ensure gender parity and promoting support around work-life, especially around senior career stages, are very important."

Subha V. Barry, President of Seramount, added, “The 2022 BCWI-MICI results illustrate a clear path to progress. The 100 Best Companies continue to lean in on career advancement for women in the form of sponsorship, mentorship, and returnship programmes, as well as benefits that support their working mothers. The Most Inclusive Companies Index places emphasis on identifying and developing diverse talent, utilising best practices in DEI trainings, holding managers accountable for their DEI results, and more. It is through measures like these that inclusive workplaces are built."

Edited by Teja Lele