Tech & hybrid the tools to plug leak in women talent pipeline, says women panel at BT Tech Today Congress
Tech can help remove biases against women at the hiring level, while hybrid work gives women the highest flexibility, say tech leaders Sindhu Gangadharan and Irina Ghose.
Technology and hybrid work are valuable tools in an organisation’s arsenal to plug leaks in the women talent pipeline, Microsoft India’s Irina Ghose and SAP Labs India’s Sindhu Gangadharan said at Business Today Tech Today Congress in Bengaluru on Friday.
At a session titled ‘Women in Tech. Leaking Pipeline. Missing Talent’ the two women deliberated upon the reasons for fewer women leaders and solutions to boost the numbers.
While the Indian tech sector has a higher representation of women compared to other areas, the numbers weaken at senior positions. “The intake of women in the STEM industry is 43 per cent, but what survives till the end to go across functions and statuses is about 14 per cent,” said Irina Ghose, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India. And this is the privileged lot. The situation is far worse among the women from smaller cities and towns where the dominant view is that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is not easy.
On managing attrition among the women workforce, she pointed out that the pandemic showed that hybrid is the future. “Hybrid is giving women the highest flexibility. More women than men are saying they would stay back if they are given hybrid option.” Further, all major tech giants are looking at getting women back into the mainstream, she added. “Even in the time they left the workforce, they got different kinds of skillsets even if they were bringing up their child.” While multi-tasking is important, she highlighted that it is not important for everything to be driven to “a 100 per cent perfection”.
Sindhu Gangadharan, Managing Director & SVP, SAP Labs India, said HR is just one element of a larger picture in enabling more women to stay back in the workforce. First, it’s one’s own mindset that needs to change, she said. “Tech can help remove some of those biases (at the hiring stage). AI-based tech can scan through thousands of candidates and find the best possible match. We need to embrace tech even more, and of course have the right policies and practices in place that give (women) support in different phases of their career.”
According to her, there are multiple reasons for why someone chooses to leave the organisation, but it is usually a combination of three things – the immediate leader, career possibilities and compensation. “To nurture (women) leadership in the organisation, to make sure, particularly for women, that they have right support system as they grow into different roles, who are those women (role models and allies in the organisation)?” she said.
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