Hiring today is largely centered in IT, with nearly 65% of overall recruitment in this sector. TeamLease Services found that women candidates formed 43% of the total hiring by IT companies since March this year. TeamLease Services co-founder & executive VP Rituparna Chakraborty said there is a surge in hiring women at the mid-management to senior level.
Although hiring in other sectors is yet to gather momentum, there are clear indications that diversity is the focus across industries. Avtar, a leading firm in diversity, inclusion, and belongingness, says it has seen “a never-before increase” in diversity hiring across IT & non-IT sectors over the last quarter. Avtar founder Saundarya Rajesh said: “Women candidates are in great demand. In sheer numbers, the demand in just Q1 (April-June) is almost as much as what we witnessed throughout FY21.”
“Not only are companies hiring in really large numbers, but the salaries being offered are also very attractive, with hikes of almost 60-70% over their current pay. Here too, second career women are in high demand — their salaries are often more affordable since the pay packet being matched is only their last drawn, several months or years ago,” said Rajesh. However, this is not a secular demand being witnessed across the country. While diversity hiring is mostly done by major companies, small and medium enterprises too are slowly catching up.
Avtar, which pioneered the concept of second careers for women in 2006, said while organisations, in different stages of diversity maturity, adopted this practice to different levels over the past few years, this year (FY22, beginning April) has been exceptional. “Organisations are keen to hire women on breaks and this trend extends across all industries. A key reason could be that second career women are immediate joiners — with no notice period for the organisation to wait out. Companies that are looking at filling positions instantly are betting big on returning women,” said Rajesh.
In India, work-from-home (WFH) has boosted gender parity and emerged as a great equaliser in terms of gender diversity with an increase in female representation across key sectors. WFH had increased opportunities for women, especially for those looking to re-enter the workforce. “There has been a dramatic rise in the number of WFH jobs, as well as the number of applications for women. This trend has been a boon for married women in India. As WFH becomes the norm, more organisations are looking at hiring women. Around 50% of 150-plus companies — multinationals, large companies, high-growth startups, and early age startups are hiring more women,” said Chakraborty.
The pandemic has shown that despite handling household responsibilities, along with a full-time job, women have been performing well. “Women lost jobs much more than men did during the pandemic. But those women who were retained, the ones who stayed, are performing very well. In a recent round-up of performance appraisals in a mid-size company, women outnumbered men when it came to promotions and increments,” said Rajesh.
To ensure they retain women candidates, companies are also making policy changes to the maternity leaves they offer. According to TeamLease Services, 45% of all companies said they offer six months of maternity leave, with 13% offering more. Large enterprises have especially stepped up efforts, with 20% of them offering more than the stipulated time.