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India Inc is Courting Women, but are they Interested ?

The number of women in senior management positions is witnessing a steady growth across the world, with more women making it to the top than any time since 2010,  according to assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

Source : Grant Thornton International’s business report 2013 - Women in business

Globally, 24 percent of senior management roles are currently filled by women, up from 21 percent in 2012. However,  in India even thought he number of women opting for MBAs is on the rise, the number of women in senior management has gone up  only marginally to 19 percent in 2013 from 14 percent in 2012.

And even as  corporate leaders accept the low participation of women in the boardrooms of Indian companies, not much has been done to strike a good work-life balance in India. Even though women account for nearly 40 percent of the total workforce of India Inc,  their presence is less than seven percent when it comes to board-level positions, according to a survey by Women On Board 2013.

The survey was conducted across 1,400 companies in India and it found that the women constituted just 6.81 percent of the total number of board members in 2013.

“Forty nine percent of businesses in India offer flexible working options for women, this being one of the factors but not the only determining factor in increasing female participation in senior management roles,” said the Grant Thornton report.

Interestingly, flexible working, does not appear to be a determining factor in getting women into top positions.

While globally only 15% of companies have plans to hire/promote more women into senior management over the next 12 months, in India  there is a significant emphasis with 42% companies planning the same.

Organisations are implementing diversity programmes and focusing on getting more women into the workforce, so much so that head hunters are being paid more to get a suitable woman candidate.

However, striking a good work-life balance is much more important for women than for men.

According to the Defining Success 2013 survey conducted by Accenture 68 percent women consider work-life balance to be the most important factor in engaging women employees.

Accenture report points out that lack of opportunities, is one of the major reasons why leads to dissatisfaction among women employees.

While a larger chunk of women employees (80 percent) said that they believe they can have both a good career and family, at least 58 percent of women said that they believe their work goes unnoticed. At the same time, 42 percent women said that lack of opportunity for growth was one of the reasons leading to job dissatisfaction.

As per the survey, these are the top six  reasons for leaving a job:
68%: poor work culture
66%: gossip
58%: Lack of acknowledgement for their work
31%: Long working hours or heavy workload
19%: Due to the feeling of being trapped in their current position
27%: Did not like the work

Corporates need to look at employee development holistically and focus on appropriate training and leadership development required to create meaningful career paths for women employees, said Nellie Borrero,  managing director of global inclusion and diversity at Accenture.

“A large proportion of Indian firms surveyed have clear plans of recruiting/ promoting women to senior positions. The reasons range from balanced decision-making, unique approach and skill sets that they bring to the table and an exponential rise in the number of truly deserving women,” Grant Thornton in India Director Nidhi Maheshwari said.

Moreover, 55 percent of businesses worldwide said they would be against the idea of quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies.

The report further said that globally 35 percent of employees are women, however, in India the proportion is significantly low at 15 percent.

Via : Firstpost. Business

Download Full Report : Grant Thornton International’s business report 2013 – Women in business


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