Chennai-based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consulting company, Avtar Group has announced the Sixth Edition of Working Mother & Avtar Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) report. Avtar also announced the Third Edition of the Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), an inclusion Index in the country that recognizes companies whose inclusion intent transcends all diversity dimensions.
This year's BCWI-MICI study commenced in February, with approximately 340 corporates spanning every major industry, geography and line of business. As per the study, to combat times of business disruptions and steer clear to a path of reduced risk, companies are increasingly focusing on diversity in leadership. This is a pattern seen across industries, with women’s participation in corporate leadership in IT/ITES moving to 18 percent in 2021 from 14 percent in 2020, in FMCG moving to 19 percent from 15 percent in 2020 and in the manufacturing sector moving to nine percent from five percent in 2020. BFSI and Pharma register a dip in women in leadership - BFSI dips from 18 percent to 15 percent and Pharma from 22 percent to 18 percent, between 2020 and 2021.
Towards women’s career development, the findings reveal that with regard to building a gender diverse pipeline, the best companies have the following initiatives:
- 88 percent of companies offer executive coaching programs in the 2021 BCWI-MICI study as compared to 81 percent in 2020
- 100 percent in the 2021 BCWI-MICI study provide professional development programs, up from 98 percent in 2020
- 75 percent of the 2021 100 Best Companies advocate and promote a culture of male allyship, up from 73 percent in 2020
- Maternity retention rate amongst women employees have also been steadily increasing in the 100 Best companies – which is at 96 percent in 2021 from 91 percent in 2020
Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, Founder – President, Avtar, said “This year’s study results indicate that companies are consciously evolving in their own Diversity, Equity & Inclusion maturity. This is primarily based on three factors, viz., their leadership intent, the industry they belong to and the history of their DEI journey thus far. It is noteworthy that the disruptions of 2020, have further accelerated the pace of DEI progress in the Best Companies, with 73 percent of them having reported an increase in their DEI spend. One such key indicator is the large number of companies which have institutionalized practices to boost representation of women and other underrepresented groups in senior leadership and executive positions.”
She further added, “Companies are increasingly building a cascade effect of DEI Accountability. As per the data from 2021 Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), 95 percent companies have built their KPIs/KRAs on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for their people managers across levels.”
The study further reveals an increase in percentage of women hires – this has moved up from 31 percent in 2016 to 38 percent in 2021. During the same timeframe, the number of companies having formal programs to identify and recruit second career women (women on career breaks) has moved up from 30 percent to 71 percent.