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Tech firms making efforts to improve gender diversity

Tech companies like TCS, Infosys, SAP Labs India, AMD, Texas Instruments, Cognizant, Mindtree, Mphasis are set to crack the gender diversity code.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 01, 2020, 04.10 PM IST
New Delhi: Top technology companies such as TCS, SAP Labs India, AMD, Texas Instruments, Cognizant, Mindtree and Mphasis are looking to crack the gender diversity code through initiatives like hiring more women at all levels, and offering them upskilling and leadership programmes as well as flexibility at work.

These initiatives are likely to push the share of women working in tech space in India to 36% in a year or two, up from 30% now, according to National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and recruitment firm TeamLease Services.

Many Nasscom member companies are taking the diversity agenda more seriously than ever, Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice president at the association, told ET. A few top companies are even making diversity part of their KRAs, or key responsibility areas, for the first time.

Rituparna Chakraborty, cofounder of TeamLease Services, said the number of women hired by tech companies this fiscal year is at least 30,000 more than the number last year.

The country’s top software exporter TCS boasts of a healthy gender ratio of 36.3% women mostly in tech roles out of its 448,000 employees.

“We are seeing more and more women in India opting for careers in technology,” said Ritu Anand, chief diversity officer at TCS. “We have multiple forward-looking policies such as maternity leave, special maternity leave, adoption, childcare, etc., which create this enabling environment.”

This fiscal, TCS has reached over 660,000 students through STEM initiatives across geographies, including India. “These initiatives eventually help to create the pool of talent that can be absorbed in tech roles,” Anand said.

More than 100,000 of Cognizant’s global workforce of over 290,000 are women, and more than 75,000 of them are in India.

“We believe the D&I (diversity and inclusion) charter of a company should be set at the top—at the level of the board and the executive leadership,” said Smriti Ahuja, vice president, human resources, at Cognizant.

About 50% of the firm’s annual hires at the entry-level, across IT and operations have been women for the past three years, she said.

Semiconductor maker AMD is also planning to start special hiring drives for women. The company is looking to increase the ratio of women engineers from the current 20%, said Fathima Farouk, HR head at AMD India.

Texas Instruments (TI) is working on hiring at least 20% women of the total hires planned this year. Many of TI women leaders are participating in the campus hiring to encourage more girls to apply. The company has also increased the intake of women interns.

“This experiential learning is important for a company like ours because there is a scope for increasing the intake of women in electronics and electrical engineering stream,” said Shubhra Bhandari, HR director at Texas Instruments India.

At SAP Labs India, 34% of its more than 8,500 employees are women. It organises dedicated talent acquisition events to hire women professionals.

At the time of interview, candidates’ photos, names and even personal pronouns are held from the jury to guard against any bias. “Only the qualifications are listed,” said Sindhu Gangadharan, managing director at SAP Labs India.

Mindtree and Mphasis, too, are focusing on increasing the percentage of women across levels from the current over 30%.

“The leadership at Mphasis has taken a conscious and committed call to ensure and grow further the gender ratio at Mphasis which is over 30:70,” its CHRO Srikanth Karra said.

At Mindtree, entry-level hiring of women is 50%. “The number is not similar when it comes to hiring at mid-levels. Hence, there is a specific focus towards hiring across levels,” said Rosalee Kombial, head - people function, India, APAC & ME, at Mindtree.

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