The challenge in diversity hiring

This authored article is a byline of Kunal Sen, SVP, TeamLease and Prity Agrawal, Business Head-Services, TeamLease.

We feel concerned when companies reach out to us to help them with their Diversity Hiring. The concept of introducing and encouraging diversity hiring is to give equal opportunity to all individuals, regardless of their gender, race, age, physical ability, ethnicity or religious beliefs. But this is largely practiced as hiring more female employees to maintain the gender ratio in the organization. This helps them to attract more female employees and to maintain a healthy diverse atmosphere.

It is now almost a decade I have been managing large recruitment teams, comprising of freshers, experienced professionals, some returning after a sabbatical etc etc. Recruitment fortunately has more female employees but I have now realized that in these 10 years, I do not see more than 14% of my ex-colleagues continuing to work in full time or part time assignments. And this genuinely makes me feel concerned and scared. If the ratio is better elsewhere, I am sure organizations have helped these employees stabilize their work-life balance better. When I go back and spend some time on the reasons behind the 86% of my female colleagues not being in the industry, it is disturbing.

It is easy to generalize why many females drop out from a promising career: Getting married, on the family way, husband in a different city or may be new family do not want them to work (the usual suspects). I am not sure if this helps any of us in the society. While I understand that as a woman, we need to manage and fulfil multiple roles of a caring wife, good mother, responsible daughter or daughter-in-law, we have been taught from the very beginning that each of the roles has to be performed to the fullest. In these roles, a career aspiration doesn’t exist and if somehow any woman decides to take up this option, then she naturally feels she has compromised on her other roles. Many women quickly end up dropping out of their careers.

Is this a situation we have to accept? Do we have to choose between office demands and pressure and household workload? While the family can be a challenge or a support for a long term career plan but it is the same family which has taught us from very beginning that whatever situation one has to face, we are never allowed to drop out of our schooling. Then why drop out of your career today? Why not figure a solution for every situation? Do some of us see this as an easier option – taking our partners for granted to manage our expenses and our life at the cost of us managing their household work? We need to take a stand, for a better individual, a better family member, a better mother and a better Indian.

I have known families where the daughter in law is the only earning member in the family. There is one exceptional Manager I have seen in my team, she manages her drunkard father-in-law, she is abused daily at her home, she manages her pre-school going son, an experimenting husband and a retired mother-in-law. The courage to face all this and continue working with best of productivity is not easy. You need to have your mind and goals in place. Obviously giving up on the job and accepting the family situation could have been the easiest option but I feel so proud seeing her in office every day. She just lights up my day. She has taken a decision and worked on her ambition day in and day out without letting her family life get in the way.

I remember, females started opting for HR as this was an easier office job. There was a time when males would pick up Sales and Marketing and females would opt for HR in their final programs, but I feel sad to see the many of these potential women HR leaders disappear?  I sincerely request my female graduates and post graduates students to give some shape to their ambition after putting in 16-19 years of their life in academics. Life is not about compromising every time. Life is about creating solutions and working things out for everybody around, which includes you to begin with. I understand, we need some support from our families and friends and colleagues, but our confidence behind our decision will help them to see a better future.

This article was published in World HR diary


Kunal Sen

Senior VP
TeamLease Services Ltd

Prity Agrawal

Business Head-Services
TeamLease Services Ltd

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