Why Diversity Matters: Women in Tech

India leads the way in the world chart when it comes to women in technology. As per NASSCOM estimates, women now make up 34% of the IT workforce, an increase of 10% since the last decade. India’s IT industry is a $150B industry- one of the largest sectors that drive the country’s GDP. Do you see any correlation between the two? I hope you do for the fact that diversity matters. It drives growth, widens perspective, increases emotional intelligence, builds a stronger foundation and redefines resilience. Last year, IT industry recorded 138,000 new hires.

Global reports have pointed out that top companies with gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns better than their country’s industry median. While other companies that don’t believe in hiring from different races, religions and genders lag mostly when it comes to their performance and financials. NASSCOM, in partnership with India’s IT-BPM industry, launched women in tech initiative a decade ago and looking at how well India’s IT industry is growing there has been a solid impact of this diversity initiative on their performance.

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Let’s explore some factors that have worked for the IT industry’s diversity program:

Socio-Economic Factors

The ever-growing middle-class India loves growing engineers in their family. Sons or daughters are pushed and pressured to build a career in engineering. While it sounds a little tough on the children, in the long run, this strategy has paid off for most households with children doing phenomenal work in their STEM careers. This drives the family out of poverty and builds a solid future for their generations. This traditional mindset has helped build a strong DNA of the country. Today in this technology-driven world, India is home to the best talent in the world including some very talented women who sit in tech leadership roles. 

Indian Schooling System

While most of us agree that there is a lot of work still to be done in India’s education system. We cannot disregard the fact that our education system has always been very emphatic about the importance of math and sciences. Early on our children are motivated to learn more of math and science rather than any other subject. Both girls and boys are tasked with many mathematical problems and concepts and they gradually integrate a second nature into themselves, which answers the question of why so many Indian students are good at math. They grow up to become world-class mathematicians, engineers and doctors including women whose average IQ is much higher. Also, about 50% of the technology graduates in India are women, and the youth under thirty significantly contribute to gender parity.

The Boom of India’s IT Industry

The IT industry accounted for 8% of India’s GDP in 2020. Exports from the Indian IT industry are expected to increase by 1.9% to reach US$ 150 billion in FY21. Growing at a rapid speed, the industry has to hire at a rapid pace too and thus, the IT industry could not ignore any gender, religion or race in their hiring for otherwise, their productivity would take a hit. Women in India can speak good English coupled with their ability to do good mental math and engineering background made them perfect candidates to depend on. 

Skills that give women an edge up and helped IT organizations think better: 

Networking Skills and Multitaskers: Women are masters in navigation and brilliantly putting their ideas to work through their network. They intuitively are gracious and generous in building relationships and this helps to build strong professional relationships which is one of the most important ingredients to drive a profitable business. They can hold any business together like their household. Managing people, profits and processes all together without batting an eye because they know each of those buckets matters in the long run. 

Natural Nurturers and Givers:

Women seek to give back to their families, organizations and communities. They feel indebted to do so- it’s natural to them. It’s ingrained in her to think about others first and then about her. This loyalty pays off for most organizations that promote women as their leaders. Any investment in her will give better ROI. They make great long term strategic partners for any organization. Their motherish nature also makes them brilliant talent nurturers for once they see the talent they seek to grow it as much as possible which makes way for future leaders of those organizations. 

Natural Nurturers and Givers:

Women seek to give back to their families, organizations and communities. They feel indebted to do so- it’s natural to them. It’s ingrained in her to think about others first and then about her. This loyalty pays off for most organizations that promote women as their leaders. Any investment in her will give better ROI. They make great long term strategic partners for any organization. Their motherish nature also makes them brilliant talent nurturers for once they see the talent they seek to grow it as much as possible which makes way for future leaders of those organizations. 

All of these factors coupled together have today helped India’s IT industry grow a strong portfolio in diversity hiring and they are not done yet, they aim to drive a 50-50% gender neutralization into their systems. It’s a benchmark the world needs to follow and learn from. The tech industry is in progression and tech-based roles receiving high traction from other industries as well. As per Jobs and Salaries Primer Report 2021, the tech industry is in progression with 6-8% growth and tech-based roles receiving high traction from other industries. The salary growth for jobs in this space has been rewarding as well. This surely aids to the fact that the future of work is not gender dominated but gender diversified.

What other industries should learn?

It’s incredibly important to have different perspectives from different genders for any healthy organization. A board room filled with 9 men out of 10 is not a balanced boardroom. Senior leaders should not listen to any alibis when it comes to why enough women aren’t getting hired or promoted at certain levels. The makeup of a boardroom should be a priority for shareholders too. 

Lack of diversity in any organization undermines its ability of strategic thinking and inhibits long term growth. Comparing a veteran male candidate’s seamless work experience with a woman who started her career at a later stage or with breaks due to motherhood is a wrong comparison. Give her a chance even if she is too young, too inexperienced, too forgiving, or too emotional and see how your organization gets four times the return on its investment.

#PutWomenToWork

Author

Deval Singh

VP & Business Head

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