Hiring of women in mid-management to senior levels in India rose from 22% in 2019 to 43% in 2020, according to a new report. However, the average participation of women in the workforce across industries remained at 34% for 2020. The data showed that 42% of women hired by all the companies (large, small and medium enterprises and startups) were for entry-level positions, as compared to 33% in 2019.
The DivHERsity Benchmarking Report 2020-21, launched by JobsForHer, analysed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women's career advancements across the country and across various levels of corporate India. The report included data collected from over 300 companies from a wide variety of industries and sectors. As far as gender inclusion in hiring is concerned, 61% of all companies surveyed (including large enterprises, startups and SMEs) stated that they have a clear gender diversity goal while hiring. Further, 41% of startups and SMEs that were surveyed had achieved their goal of gender diversity hiring in 2020, establishing that several companies are adopting initiatives that help eliminate gender biases to create a more diverse workplace.
The pandemic left us all trying to adapt to the new normal, which included remote working. Remote working has become a significant way of life and seems to be gaining traction across India Inc as an opportunity in disguise, the report states. JobsForHer’s Benchmarking Report said that 40% of companies rolled out special and customised work-from-home roles post COVID-19.
In 2017, India passed the Maternity Amendment Bill that increased the right to paid maternity leave for working women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks — the third highest in the world. Almost after four years of passing the bill, in the survey conducted for the DivHERsity report, 45% of all companies (large enterprises, startups and SMEs) said that they offer 6 months of maternity leave. The percentage of large enterprises that offer more than the stipulated 6 months of maternity leave increased from 14% in 2019 to 20% in 2020.
Indian employers introduced new policies to build a human-centric employee experience to create a better world of work during the pandemic, the report states. In the survey, 69% of all companies (large enterprises, SMEs and startups) agreed to have flexible work hours during the pandemic. 41% of startups and SMEs stated that they provide all their resources and innovations to safeguard their most valuable asset — the mental health of their employees. However, only 13% of all companies – large enterprises, SMEs and startups, offered additional paid leave for parents during the pandemic.
In relation to women returnee programs, a total of 50% of all companies surveyed actively recruited women returnees, which has declined by 20% from 2019. In the survey, 65% large enterprises said they are running special initiatives to bring women back into the workforce after a career break, which is the same as the 2019 data. However, a steep fall was recorded for SMEs and startups, which now stands at 40% when compared to 54% in 2019.
Speaking on the findings, Neha Bagaria, Founder and CEO of JobsForHer said, “Organisations are finally coming to understand the significance of diversity in their workforce, and have now started implementing the same. It is heartening to see several organisations taking a step in the right direction to make the workplace more women-friendly. We are hopeful that this trend will enable and encourage more women returnees, women in tech and women in leadership roles to enter the workforce and climb the professional ladder, while ensuring gender parity across all levels.”