The call for more women to bring their diverse skill sets to the exciting and rapidly evolving technology sector is needed to accelerate India’s GDP. In India, women make up only 20% of the workforce: the same research suggests that equal participation of women would increase GDP by 27% by 2025. The economic and social benefits of bridging the gap are clear. Expleo India has spearheaded many Diversity and Inclusion practices, and we are proud to champion the pioneering contributions of women across the fields of technology and engineering. These women are smashing the glass ceiling that has historically capped female participation rates in these fields.
As virtually every industry worldwide continue to navigate an uncertain economic environment, the enterprise community is taking the opportunity to build back better. This has different connotations for different businesses – embracing digital, an emphasis on sustainability practices – but addressing the gender balance has the potential to unlock untold benefits across the board.
Barriers to equality
The World Economic Forum recently highlighted that there is not so much a gender gap but a gender chasm in the technology sector. Referencing figures released by Eurostat, it showed that women account for only 17% of significant technology jobs, including programming and software development positions. Moreover, the WEF highlighted how women make up only 20% of the graduates in the information and technology undergraduate programmes. Graduates from these courses constitute the pool of future candidates for many technical roles – underlining the chronic need to entice more female talent into the fray.
More female role models are needed.
With recent research by IPSOS finding that one in five women in tech is considering leaving their jobs, decisive and far-reaching action is needed to stem the flow. So, what tangible steps can be made to address this?
We need to focus on the systemic issues that exacerbate the conditions that dissuade women from chasing their dreams in the technology arena. The aforementioned Women in Tech survey by IPSOS underlined the intrinsic link between positive female role models and a woman’s decision to pursue a career in tech: 58% of respondents acknowledged that visible role models were one of the core factors influencing them to join an organisation. We need greater visibility of women in tech and engineering positions, which is a major challenge given the limited levels of female participation in undergraduate programs tailored to these roles. Alternative paths are needed.
Learning & Development initiatives
A progressive step forward would see more tech companies offering bespoke apprenticeship programmes for candidates that might not have a technical background or subject matter expertise. This will open up a much wider pool of talent with transferable skills while giving more women a platform to enter the space, ascend the ladder, and make a real impact. The ripple effect of introducing these new inroads can create a virtuous circle. As more women establish their industry credentials, future generations will have more role models to learn from and draw inspiration. opportunity is widened, in line with enterprises’ search for greater operational agility.
We already know there is a heightened appetite at an enterprise level for new processes, fresh thinking, and bold vision to take hold. Expleo’s Business Transformation Index (BTI) 2022 report found that 61% of global businesses know they need to be bold in their ambitions. This will undoubtedly involve elevating the role of women in their organisation’s overarching mission while allocating resources to comprehensive digital skills and training initiatives. The case for internal upskilling initiatives has always stood up from a competitive point of view, and research conducted by Expleo supports this: 78% of global businesses identified technical skills shortages as impacting their organisation’s plans.
Beyond digital upskilling initiatives, more flexible working arrangements should become the industry standard. Due to the pandemic, we’ve already seen a groundswell of momentum around remote working and hybrid working practices. These policies should become firmly embedded in the workplace landscape moving forward, helping women better navigate the juggling act of family life and thriving in a highly charged tech environment. In the mission to build back better, organisations should also be more flexible in their chosen definition of ‘expert’ while adopting a more holistic approach to developing experts from within.
Creating a model of sustainability
Research from Bloomberg has found that companies with stronger levels of gender diversity at the board level are better equipped to navigate the climate crisis and develop innovation rooted in sustainability. Specifically, it was shown that companies with 30% or more women on their boards are 1.5 times more likely to perform better on the environmental side of things. At the intersection of revamping business processes and embracing a culture of sustainability is greater female participation in the technology and engineering roles. This will help encourage new generations of women to take a bet on themselves while attracting a conveyor belt of female talent to stake their claim in the burgeoning tech space.