Women professionals challenging boundaries; Made most progress in IT/ITeS and Hospitality sectors

2021-03-03

Women at workplace: Up for more unconventional roles, but still face absurd questions at job interviews and appraisal meetings

Every year India Inc. celebrates the International Womens Day with much zest, usually highlighting their policy and programs dedicated to bring gender parity at the workplaces. It appears very encouraging till you take a closer look and realise that while a few known challenges are being dealt firmly; but there are many new struggles staring at women professionals. For instance, during the COVID-19 lockdown most women were managing home, taking care of the family to finishing office chores non-stop.

To mark the International Womens Day, TimesJobs conducted a survey among 1,576 women professionals, aged between 28 and 40 to understand their present challenges and highlight their newer achievements at workplace. The survey findings throw light on the new areas of improvement for the employers.

Rakhee Sharma brings you a detailed report on the survey findings.

More women taking up unconventional jobs

It was heartwarming to see Capt Zoya Sapra Agarwal fly one of the worlds longest air routes between San Francisco & Bengaluru with an all-female flight crew in January this year. She isnt alone as more women are taking up unconventional roles now. The TimesJobs survey asked if more women were taking up non-traditional roles and chores at the workplace. The majority (77% respondents) said a straight yes. However, 22% respondents said no hinting that women professionals still have a long road to catch up here.

Women professionals made most progress in the IT/ITeS domain

Talking of various domains where the rising and impact of women professionals is more pronounced, most respondents said that the women professionals made most progress in the IT/ITeS sector, voted by 35% respondents. This was followed by the Hospitality sector (19% votes) and the BPO sector (17% votes).

The survey also indicated that women professionals made the least progress in the Automobiles (voted by 3%) and Manufacturing (voted by 6%) sectors. For a reference, only 10% of the women workforce employed in India - in both rural and urban areas - are employed in Manufacturing. Hence as the IT/ITeS sector aggressively campaigned to attract and retain women talent, a similar and aggressive approach is the need of the hour in both these sectors.

No transparency around salary promotes gender pay gap

When we surveyed women professionals about the main reasons for the prevalent gender pay gap, 34% respondents said that company policies/culture promotes pay gap. An unconscious gender bias was named as the second prevalent factor, as voted by 21% respondents.

Women leaders are preferred as they bring new perspectives

The TimesJobs survey discovered some of the progressive trends as well. In the survey we asked working professionals if women leaders were taken as seriously as their male counterparts. The majority, 52% respondents, said yes. When asked the reasons for preferring women leaders in the C-suite, most respondents (36%) said that the women leaders bring a different perspectives to the forefront. Whereas 29% respondents believed that women leaders focus on teamwork. This is an indication that the Indian workplaces have come of age when it comes to gender parity.

Better support system for working women in the workplace.

When talking of the improvements made in the last decade, most (33% respondents) said that the social support system had evolved phenomenally. The emergence of daycares, creches and caregivers are a certain relief for working women. Whereas 21% said that they were encouraged for upskilling programs.

Work-life imbalance is the biggest challenge for women

The TimesJobs survey checked on the prevalent challenges for women professionals and work-life imbalance was cited as the biggest challenge (voted by 48% respondents). After this, a bias because of life events as motherhood or caregiving (voted by 22%) and gender pay gap (voted by 17%) were named as the other top challenges. This finding cements the long due rue that working women juggle between many chores, switching roles endlessly and hence the prevalent challenges.

Women professionals face absurd queries from hiring managers

According to the findings of the TimesJobs survey, most of the respondents (66%) said that they faced absurd questions about marriage or plans on having children more than their male counterparts.

Motherhood, a predominant factor for women to leave their career

The prevalent gender bias prevents women from continuing work after motherhood. TimesJobs survey revealed that more than 74% working mothers face discrimination and lack opportunities while considering careers due to the bias basis motherhood. However, 25% believed to have no such issues.

COVID-19 lockdown was tough for women professionals

The TimesJobs survey asked the respondents if the COVID-19 induced lockdown was tougher for women than their male colleagues, 74% respondents said yes. Page 42 of 94. The survey also probed if any woman they knew lost job during the pandemic, the popular choice here too was yes, voted by 70% respondents.

Conclusion

Workplaces have evolved over the years and the state of working women too has changed, as indicated by various findings of the survey. Women are taking on newer job roles enthusiastically, and armed with a strong social support system they are uncovering newer grounds too. However with newer challenges as working amid the COVID-19 lockdown in the fray, its important for the organisations to consider their policies from time to time.

Reference: Times Jobs