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Corporate Jan 14, 2014

Decoding the lack of female talent in India’s IT sector

By Firstbiz Staff

India's IT sector may have generated 2,30,000 jobs in 2012 with high potential women and men starting out on an equal footing, but when it comes to job level and pay, there is a huge gender gap that emerges over time. The result? Women not only earn less but also receive fewer developmental opportunities.

According to a study by Catalyst, which examined 713 women and men working full-time in high-tech organizations and/or technology roles in India, women are earning Rs 3,79,570 (approximately $6,000) less than men in their current jobs.

The report titled 'High Potentials under High Pressure in India's Technology Sector', shows that globally, women MBAs start at lower positions and pay ($4,600 less on average) than male counterparts, while India Inc's high potential women and men in technology start out on an equal footing. However, 12 years into their careers, women lag behind men by approximately Rs 3.8 lakh in terms of pay.

So what are the reasons for this Gender Gap?

Representational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

According to the study,complexorganizational and socio-cultural factors contribute to the gap in representation and pay. For instance, both men and women receive similar amounts of development through formal programmes, but women receive fewer of the on-the job experiences, or "hot jobs," that really matter, such as international assignments and mission-critical roles, compared to men.

"Even in their very first jobs, only 30% of women had predominantly line roles- those that are more mission-critical or
central to the purpose of the organization vs. staff jobs to fulfill support functions- compared to 48% of the men," the study revealed. This uneven distribution is even present in long-term international assignments.

As many as 57% of men relocated to work abroad for three or more years compared to just 18% of women who had similarly
longrelocation.

Secondly, socio-cultural pressures of home and work adversely affect women's aspirations and career advancement.

For instance, nearly four times as many women in dual-career marriages (19%) as men (5%) reported that they had assumed the roleof "stay-at-home partner" at some point in their careers.

Table obtained from Catalyst report

Table obtained from Catalyst report

In response to these dual pressures of home and work, more women (54%) than men (21%) reported having taken leaves of absences
(LOAs) over their careers. Among those who did take at least one LOA, men (71%) were more likely to have taken a short leave of less than three months than women (29%). Among those with children-regardless of the age of those children-women took
more LOAs compared to men in their respective comparison groups.

The table above clearly shows that women were more than three times as likely to have taken LOAs for childcare-related
reasons (excluding childbirth and maternity leave) while men were almost three times as likely as women to cite "elder-care and other family reasons" for taking LOAs, and almost twice as likely as women to have taken time off for personal health.

So in a nutshell, even though women and men are highly mobile, changing jobs early and often, women are less likely than men to chase money and higher positions. And while women and men are also highly mobile when it comes to the number of international assignments they receive, men's assignments tend to be longer, contributing to the pay gap.

High-potential women in the technology sector are unhappy about this pay gap, expressing dissatisfaction about their salary growth and level compared to their peers. Compared to 42% of men, 52% of women were "very" or "somewhat" dissatisfied with the compensation they received.

by Firstbiz Staff

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