TP India Q+A - Reinvigorating Female Capital To Create Conditions For BPOS To Flourish
1. Why is now the time to rethink how businesses can lower development barriers to women?
Remote work is having a detrimental effect of the proportion of women in the office, with female jobs now 1.8 times more vulnerable during the coronavirus than men's. More disturbing is that women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses.
During a time of such economic uncertainty, leaders must be doing all they can to get as many women as possible back into long-term, stable employment. According to the UN , economic impacts are felt especially by women and girls, who as noted, earn less and traditionally save less too. It's therefore more important than ever to lower barriers for women, not only in India, but across the world.
While the role of women has changed in recent history, the infrastructure has not been updated to support this shift. Women are still in a position to receive less pay and fewer promotion opportunities. Given that people are adapting and addressing how and where they work, this is also the time also to tackle the worrying issue of barriers to entry for women.
2. How can businesses help support those employees who want to develop the skills that are required to succeed in the ever changing digital economy?
Off the back of rapid acceleration in digital transformation and technology adoption, India's technology sector grew 2.3 percent year-on-year, despite global output shrinking 3.2 percent. These numbers may be impressive, but to continue growing at this rate, employers must arm their employees with the correct tools and training to succeed, predominantly through remote access to cloud platforms.
There is an astonishing 560 million internet subscribers and 1.2 billion mobile phone users in India, making it second only to China in terms of the number of consumers with access to digital. This not only reveals the opportunity available to employers for upskilling but also the valuable opportunity to boost the established high-tech skills of the future workforce so both employees and businesses alike can fend of future market threats.
With much of the world working remotely, employees are being encouraged to become more tech-savvy than they once were, whilst enabling them to constantly learn and bolster key skills wherever they are and on any device. It's now up to employers to ensure that the time spent adapting to new ways of working are not wasted, and their employees are given the opportunities to advance in their careers.
3. Why are the it and BPO sectors in an especially strong position to create more opportunities for women?
Society in India has historically looked more favourably on men than women, so much so, that in the previous decade, female participation in the labour force had declined 7.8 percent . Restrictive cultural norms and the gender wage gap, through to flexible working offerings, have fuelled this divide. However, the COVID pandemic has somewhat levelled the playing field in terms of working.
While improvements have been made over the past 12 - 18 months in getting women in tech roles, unfortunately, there is still work to be done
Organisations must introduce a range of different policies such as work-from-home, flexible working hours, and a hybrid approach. With Gartner predicting IT spending will grow 6.8 percent to $88.8 billion in 2021, opportunities for women will continue to increase over the coming 12 months and the sector will rebound following an unpredictable 2020.
As we progress into 2021, the expectation is that there will be a more hybrid approach, with employees working partly from the office and partly from home. But as confidence continues to return and more employees get back to work, it's expected that the tech - in particular the IT and BPO sectors - will continue to hire more women.
Over the last two years, we have been preparing for a shift to working from home a trend that has been accelerated by COVID. We have created an agile response to the crisis and expanded the remote working environment, allowing us to sustain growth.
Our development of the Cloud Campus Hubs allowed us to launch work-at-home projects in different locations to support clients as countries globally became significantly impacted. The investment put us in a good position today to face the uncertainty of the future and inspire trust among our partners and employees, should the future be fully office, fully WFH, or a hybrid of the two.
4. What is needed to ensure that across the technology sector, women continue to have opportunities and are fairly represented at all levels?
While improvements have been made over the past 12 18 months in getting women in tech roles, unfortunately, there is still work to be done.
In order to avoid reverting back to a pre-pandemic HR strategy, employers must collaborate with employees to ensure they are giving them the best chance to succeed. As we've seen, this can range from offering greater learning and development resources to introducing flexible working policies, which will make the workplace more appealing to women.
As we come through the worst of the COVID pandemic, now is the time to promote diversity and inclusion, to ensure women are given the best opportunities to succeed and grow.
Talking more generally, India`s 4G network must be made more robust and reliable to resolve spend and connectivity issues to ensure collaborative remote working environments can be sustained in the future.