Female workers demand increases in manufacturing sector: Study

Female workers demand increases in manufacturing sector

Female representation in the chemicals and manufacturing sectors has surged significantly over the past four years, according to a new report by The Udaiti Foundation and Quess Corp.

The study, titled “From Rhetoric to Action – Creating Gender Inclusive Workplaces,” was unveiled at a roundtable event in Bengaluru, highlighting an increase in women’s participation across traditionally male-dominated industries.

Despite this progress, the report also noted that career opportunities drive 43% of job exits across genders, with female dropouts slightly outpacing male counterparts within the critical first 90 days of employment.

The report, a result of a year-long collaboration between Quess Corp and The Udaiti Foundation, showed that while sectors like Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) have the highest female representation at 26%, and Consumer Services at 24%, female participation among Quess associates remains low at 17%.

The study also emphasised the growing demand for female workers in manufacturing, with 11% of the Quess workforce in this sector being women, particularly in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) companies, where some firms employ up to 90% female staff on their shop floors.

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Pooja Sharma Goyal, CEO of The Udaiti Foundation said, “The roles and representation of women in the workforce management industry have evolved significantly, reflecting broader societal shifts towards gender parity.” She  emphasised the importance of increasing female workforce participation to achieve India’s $10 trillion economy ambition.

“Through data backed evidence generation and stakeholder engagement, we aim to achieve a significant increase in women’s representation over the next 5 years. We urge industry leaders to join us in the mission to reach 50% Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in the coming decade,” Goyal added.

The report also highlighted that comprehensive benefits packages, including Provident Fund (PF) and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) schemes, alongside performance incentives, significantly enhance female retention rates. Married women with PF benefits are three times more likely to stay with the company, while single women with ESIC benefits are 48% more likely to retain their jobs compared to their counterparts without such benefits.

Family responsibilities and health issues, including pregnancy, remain major reasons for women leaving their jobs, despite better career opportunities being the primary driver of exits across all genders.

Guruprasad Srinivasan, Executive Director and Group CEO of Quess Corp, reiterated the company’s commitment to bridging the gender gap in employment, which could significantly boost the country’s GDP.

“We are happy to see an increase in the workforce participation of women in Quess in some sectors in the last few years, including logistics (35%), FMCG (24%), and manufacturing (11%, but fast-growing). The female labour force participation in urban India is 25.4% for the above 15 age group, as per the government data, which is one of the lowest in the world. Bridging the gender gap in employment can significantly increase the country’s GDP and Quess is committed to this cause,” Srinivasan said.

“We have been working with our clients and policy makers to hire women across sectors. We have also taken up several initiatives such as providing accommodation, basic amenities to support migrant workers and deploying female liaison officers at manufacturing units to oversee welfare of female associates. We have introduced a chatbot to engage with new hires during their first 90 days to gather insights and identify potential flight risks,” she added.

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