Why this year will define a new order to gender equality in enterprises?
8th March is International Women's Day. And on this niche platform, we can only go so far as to explore why there are still so few women in enterprise IT. Through our brief research last year with Headhonchos.com, we spent time analysing the women pipeline in enterprise IT. The result was somewhat expected. At 35%, most women were likely to be hired in the field of HR while only 12% were likely to get a job in enterprise IT.
Around the same time last year, we wrote to atleast a dozen women IT leaders in India. Only one spoke about the 'burning' issue at hand. As an IT leader at a global professional services firm Genpact, Vidya Srinivasan, Senior VP - IT & Infrastructure, has a mandate to hire at least 20% women in Genpact's internal IT workforce.
In many ways, Genpact's philosophy is the same as its former parent, General Electric. Last year, the company announced that they are setting a goal to create a workforce of 20,000 technical women by 2020 and recruit 50% women and 50% men into all of their entry level technical leadership programs. Another organization worth mentioning here is multinational computer software company, Adobe, who undertook a review of its job structure and analysed its compensation practices, and announced in January 2018 that it has achieved pay parity in the US, and in India, which is Adobe’s second largest employee base. Fortune's 100 Best Workplaces for Women list also
revealed something interesting. Their research found that women employees’ perception of work-life balance actually had a minimal effect on their decision to plan long-term careers at their businesses. Instead, women prefer workplaces that promote employee advancement through job responsibilities and imparting new skills. In enterprise IT, the percentage of women leaders globally—from CIOs to chief technology officers to vice presidents of technology — remained at 9% in 2017, the same as 2016, according to analysis by executive intelligence tool, Boardroom Insiders. In large organizations, that number was 10%, which was identical to the global average rate of women in IT. In India, however, only 7% women were hired for CIO positions in 2017 as compared to 19% at entry level and 14% in middle IT positions, according to a Headhonchos.com exclusive research for CIO&Leader.
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland this year, gender equality precipitated into almost every topic. Chinese major Alibaba Group's executive chairman told a prominent audience comprising world leaders and CEOs that women accounted for 47% of the company’s 50,000-plus employees. One third of Alibaba Group founders are women, one third of partners are women and one third of its management executives are women. Canada also has set an example in diversity where the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau himself is championing diversity by setting up a gender equal cabinet comprising 50% men and 50% female. Canada currently ranks 11 in WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2017. In many ways, the #Metoo movement has also pushed the topic of gender equality back into the limelight and sparked conversations in multiple directions.
In an enterprise IT setting, companies are slowly starting to take a more structured approach to hiring, to overcome implicit bias and to assimilate gender equality as a norm into the organization's core culture. This will require work. Here are four reasons why 2018 will bring us closer to the tipping point for gender equality in enterprise IT.