Article: 'Skewed representation': Women ample in entry levels, virtually missing from senior roles


'Skewed representation': Women ample in entry levels, virtually missing from senior roles

Women’s representation continues to improve at entry levels, however, there continues to be a 50% deficit when it comes to women in senior roles, despite the robust career enhancement programmes at companies, says a new survey.
'Skewed representation': Women ample in entry levels, virtually missing from senior roles

While the representation of women at entry levels continues to go up (from 33% in 2017 to 38% in 2022), the female talent pipeline sees a bottleneck – with their presence in managerial roles down by 9% at (23% in 2017 and 26% in 2022), further dips to 18% at the senior managerial level, and only 17% at the corporate executive level.

These are the findings of the Seventh Edition of Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) report by Avtar Group, India’s premier diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm.

“Women’s representation continues to improve, when we look at a 5-year data frame. However, we must note that the increase is primarily because of more women at 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,” said Saundarya Rajesh, founder-president, Avtar.

Rajesh stressed that 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.

"For example, elder care support is fast catching up in our 100 Best companies - 75% of our 100 Best companies have policies to support elder caregivers. In the hybrid work model that is here to stay, societal enablement by way of improved facilities for child-care and elder care and family units that hold value for career ambitions of women can change the narrative,” she added.

The other key findings were:

  •  34.86% women hold positions in the companies, as per the gender distribution across levels, as against 65.14% of men.
  • In the promotion rates of men and women for the 100 best companies, the latter stood at 9.64% while the former was at 9.21%.
  • The attrition rates of women stood at 23.32% and men stood at 23.75%.
  • While women representation in IT/ITES industry remained at 35% in both 2021 and 2022, the number declined from 18% to 13% in FMCG and 22% to 24% in Pharma. It was a positive trend in consulting and BFSI sectors as the numbers rose from 43% in 2021 to 45% in 2022 and 31% in 2021 to 33% in 2022, respectively. As per the report, the representation of women increased from 14% in 2016 to 19% in 2022 in the manufacturing sector, which is a 35% growth rate. The women’s representation has doubled in 7 years in the pharma industry.
  • 95% of companies on the index have a structured DEI council to drive their DEI agenda. The report forecasts 40.6% of women representation in the 100 best companies by 2025.
  • As regards the promotion trends, amid the VUCA challenges, it is heartening to note that the overall promotion rate at the 2022 – 100 Best Companies of women employees stood at 9.64% which is up from 6.1% (last year) vis-a-vis 9.21% (which is also up from 5.6% last year) of men employees. The trend among the Top 10 Companies for women in India – a good jump to 10.5% from 4.36% last year of women employees as against the 10.13% which has also seen a rise from 3.94% last year of male employees.
  • Gender pay parity is another priority for the top 2022-100 Best. 86% of these companies have mechanisms to measure and benchmark gender pay equity, showing that 100 Best companies consider pay parity as a very important prerequisite for gender inclusion.
  •  Women’s earnings continue to be on the rise. While in 2016, 14% of Top 20% earners in the 100 Best were women, this comes close to 20% in 2022.
  • There has been an uptick in the number of companies offering initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion – percentage of companies offering mentoring has moved up from 75% in 2016 to 98% in 2022, while the percentage of companies offering career sponsorship has moved from 45% in 2016 to 79% in 2022.

Avtar also announced the Fourth Edition of the Avtar & Seramount Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), an inclusion Index in the country that recognises companies whose inclusion intent transcends all diversity dimensions.

Amongst the companies that feature in the 100 best companies for women in India list, 33% were Indian companies and the rest were MNCs.

2022 Top 10 Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India, listed alphabetically include 

  • Accenture Solutions 
  • Barclays in India
  • Citi India
  • EY
  • Genpact India 
  • IBM India
  • Infosys 
  • Mastercard India
  • Tech Mahindra
  • ZS Associates India 

“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 forms of sponsorship, mentorship, and returnship programs, as well as benefits that support their working mothers," said  Subha V Barry, president of Seramount.

The survey also highlighted that:  

  • Value of Flextime was at 96% for the 100 best companies as flexibility has become a strategic employee enabler for the employees in these companies.
  • The best companies ensure that new parents are supported through an array of benefits including paid leave, postpartum stress support, and adoption assistance.  Maternity leave with the value of 100% is provided in the 100 best companies.
  • The 100 best companies are offering leave and support across the parental leave spectrum which is important to retain and grow employees, specifically at the mid-career stage.
  • The best companies are keen to support their employees across all facets of life. From offering childcare support to elder care support to stress counselling, these companies focus on the emotional well-being of the employees.
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Topics: Diversity, Leadership, #DEIB

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