India’s IT sector has the highest women’s representation, shows study

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India’s IT sector has the highest women’s representation, shows study

The IT sector has the highest representation of women in the workforce at 30%, while FMCG and industrials occupy the last two spots with 5.5% and 4.3% representation, respectively, according to a CFA study

India’s IT sector had the highest female participation rate of 30%, followed by financial services companies at 22.4% during financial year 2021-22, according to an analysis of voluntary Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting disclosures by 134 companies conducted by the CFA institute.

The IT sector, considered the largest employer of the country’s white-collar workforce, has the highest representation of women in the workforce, while FMCG and industrials occupy the last two spots in the listing with 5.5% and 4.3% representation, respectively.

A recent Nasscom report ‘Strategic Review 2023 — Priming for a ‘No Normal’ Future’ said the IT industry has a 5.4 million-strong workforce and is estimated to create 2,90,000 new jobs and add $19 billion in revenue in FY2023. This includes 2 million women employees and a net addition of over 1,40,000 women employees in FY23, the report said.

The CFA analysis is based on a sample of voluntary BRSR disclosures to provide an initial perspective on how Indian women are faring in corporate workplaces. The BRSR disclosures are voluntary for companies during the financial year ending 31 March 2022 and compulsory for the top 1,000 companies ending 31 March 2023.

However, a deeper look at the data from the analysis shows that career progression for women is poor even in IT and Financial Services, data shows. For instance, within financial services companies, women represent 21.7% of employees and only 15.9% of key management personnel (KMP), a difference of 5.8 percentage points. Within the information technology sector, the difference is more pronounced, at 18.7 percentage points, with women accounting for 27% of employees and only 8.3% of KMP.

Overall, Indian women’s participation rates in the workforce averaged 12.7% across companies in the sample. Calculated as the number of women employed as a percentage of total employees, this means there was one woman for every eight people in the payrolls.

The data also showed that women had higher turnover than men in the sample (18.3% versus 16.1% for men) and higher turnover in all sectors except two. Defined as the number of people who left employment in the financial year as a percentage of the average number of people in that category, the report pointed out that the finding mirrored what happened in other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: More women than men left their jobs. A reason for this pattern might be that the burden of child and elderly care tends to fall disproportionally on women, the report said, adding that the higher attrition among women is worth tracking given the already low participation of women in the Indian workforce.

In May 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India released the revised BRSR framework, a comprehensive set of sustainability disclosures covering environmental, social, and governance issues. For the first time, companies were asked to report on a variety of topics, such as the makeup of their labour force, pay, turnover rates, and other factors, split by gender. The CFA report analysed the BRSR disclosure data for FY2022 voluntarily reported by 134 companies. In terms of workforce, the median number of employees in the sample was 3,971.


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