Bangalore: India''s booming IT and IT-enabled services industry is a favourite destination of job-seeking women, whose employment in the industry is set to rise dramatically to 45 percent in 2010 from the current 30 percent, says an industry survey.
A survey by National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), the representative organisation of the Indian software firms, says this is due to the inclusive human resource policies of Indian IT firms, which recruit, train, retain and promote women employees as a strategic business plan.
"As the IT-ITeS sector moves up the value chain, more women are joining the industry. The male-female ratio is expected to improve to 65:35 by this year-end from 76:24 in 2005," outgoing Nasscom president Kiran Karnik said here Wednesday.
"Even as the industry braces up to achieve this healthy gender ratio, the job trend indicates more and more educated young women, including housewives, are joining the industry due to its progressive and flexible HR policies," he added.
"For empowering the women workforce and creating conducive environment to grow equally at their workplace, we have commissioned Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad (IIM-A) to conduct a fresh study on the status of women employees in the IT industry and avenues for their growth in the value chain," Karnik told about 300 women delegates participating in the Nasscom-IT Women Leadership Summit 2007.
The study, expected to be completed in the next five-six weeks, will focus on additional measures to be taken by the industry to empower women employees and create opportunities to absorb more of them increasingly.
"It is a survey of what the IT industry does and can do more in terms of attitudes, perception and best practices for an inclusive growth. Women are a key and vital part of a progressive industry, which promotes gender diversity and empowerment," Karnik pointed out.
The study will also quiz women employees across the industry to ascertain their assessment of the existing HR policies, work conditions and workload, how sensitive their male counterparts were towards them, and scope for professional advancement in their respective organisations.
"The study is being conducted on various parameters to assess the growth prospects of women workforce in the industry across various segments. For instance, the penetration of women at the management level is still inadequate. Even at top levels, women representation is disproportionate to their numbers in service," Karnik noted.
As the nature of their occupation, which includes looking after domestic chores, is different and burdensome, the study will explore prospects of employing women with flexi-timing so that they could divide their work between office and home.
"As the industry operates on a 24x7 basis, with flexible working hours, IT-ITeS firms should have more women-friendly measures to hire and retain them so that they could juggle career aspirations and look after home at the same time," Karnik affirmed.
A CEO panel discussion on "crossing the gender barrier" at the summit was of the view that employing women and empowering them should not be seen as a mere fulfilment of corporate social responsibility by the industry, but a duty and obligation towards women for achieving social equity and proportionate wealth creation.
"Since the IT industry does not require any specific skills that are gender dependent, women are intrinsically suited to work in various segments of the industry, as they are equally good communicators. Secondly, women are more adept in acquiring the required skills faster for multitasking and working in collaboration with men in team spirit," the panel opined.
Besides Britannia Industries Ltd managing director Vinita Bali, the CEO panel included Aviva Global Services CEO Teresa Copping, Mphasis chaian Jerry Rao and Texas Instruments India managing director Bobby Mitra.