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Difficult To Find Diverse Talent At Mid And Higher Levels

Women at higher levels in tech are less satisfied with their careers, perceive that they are unlikely to advance at their current organizations, believes Gayathri Ramamurthy of Capgemini India

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Gayathri Ramamurthy, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Capgemini India talks about promoting women at the workplace and inspiring others across the globe to work towards the change. 

How big a challenge is about finding and retaining a diverse workforce? How does it impact the workplace ecosystem?

Managing diversity is not an option; it is a business imperative to have sustainable growth in the new socio-economic order. Being a talent magnet, managing the expectations of diverse employees and keeping them engaged is not an easy task. 

According to NASSCOM and PwC study conducted in 2016, India continues to be the one-stop destination for global sourcing, with a 56 percent share in 2015.  Women constitute more than half of the current entry-level hires. 

However, finding diverse talent at mid and higher levels is comparatively difficult. We live in a society where gender roles have become more egalitarian and where women contribute increasingly to family economic well-being. Men are also much more involved in their home lives than men in the past, spending more time with their children and contributing more to the work of caring for their homes and families. 

Flat earnings, long hours, increasing job demands, blurred boundaries between work and home life, and declining job security - all contribute to the pressures workforce face to succeed at work and at home. These factors result in attrition. It’s essential to have inclusive hiring strategy and processes, return ship programme for women after a career break, a full proof maternity returnship programme, mentoring and developmental programmes across levels to attract and retain women workforce. At Capgemini, we have various programmes for our workforce and we leverage flexibility as a key tool to attract and retain talent, along with the other interventions.

For every 100 men promoted to manager, just 79 women are promoted to managerial roles. Why is gender diversity not a priority for leaders? When can we see the number improving?

Capgemini is an equal opportunity employer and diversity and inclusion is a business priority. At Capgemini in India, our women employees constitute over 33 percent of our workforce. We have seen an increase of about 2 percent as compared to last year and expect to consistently increase women strength over the next few years. To achieve an improved diversity ratio of workforce we have very focused programmes to address leadership pipeline and targeted initiatives at various phases of the employee life cycle.

How challenging is work management of a woman employee going on maternity leave? How has the hiring pattern changed after the maternity bill?

The maternity bill was a major milestone that has been passed keeping in mind the challenges that women face when getting back to work after their maternity break. It will empower women and provide them with options that will help them to integrate work into commitments in life. 

We have launched several initiatives for our employees and pre-empted the maternity break of 26 weeks ahead of the legal mandate. The intent is clearly to support our women to absorb and integrate with a new member of the family. To be more inclusive to a family unit, we address surrogacy, adoption and paternity breaks as well.  

Additionally, we have launched fareWelcome! a program designed to assist women in transition from office to maternity leave, this program helps the employee to stay connected with the organization through buddy support and colleagues during the maternity break, and ease ‘back to work’ transition process. 

Additionally, upskilling enablers as required by women are also provided to ensure a smooth transition from maternity leave to work. 

More than half of the women quitting their job never return to work. Is it lack of opportunities and growth prospects that women find challenging when returning to the workforce?

We understand that in a women’s life journey there are phases where she has to strike an appropriate balance between her personal and professional responsibilities. This typically happens during the early to middle phases of her career. Our Data and research show that women are unable to strike an appropriate balance and do drop out of the race.  To attract another dimension of women talent, we have launched CAPtivate, our career comeback program. This is not limited to our alumni network! 

CAPtivate is an integrated program to attract women back into a career. As part of our exclusive, women-only recruitment initiative resumes are invited from experienced women professionals who are currently on a career break and who are looking to get back to their careers. Women who are currently not employed for a minimum duration of a year can apply to jobs that are relevant to their work experience.

Women, on average, take 2 years more than men to move into managerial positions in engineering roles. Why do we need to rethink about women in technology?

There has never been more discussion about gender balance, pay equity, discrimination, and hostile workplaces. Nor is there any doubt about the value of increased diversity and gender balance. Although we all know that women now graduate college at higher rates than men and make up nearly half of the workforce, we also know they are a long way from being equally represented on the way to and in the C-suite.

Pipeline factors are not the only reason for the low numbers of women: Companies are failing to retain the women employees they have. The highest-profile losses in tech are those at the senior level. These women often are less satisfied with their careers, perceive that they are unlikely to advance at their current organizations, or believe they must change jobs in order to reach the next level.

Organizations can rigorously review and update their diversity and inclusion initiatives. They can educate people about second-generation gender bias – practices and behaviors that appear to be gender neutral, but which harm women — and have the tough conversations about it being an issue for all to address. And they can support women leadership programmes that help women take greater risks, experiment, and create communities of support and challenge.

By making the promotion process more transparent, distributing meaningful assignments equitably, and opening up the right networks for women, we can keep women in tech and build a diverse, talented cohort of leaders.