Gender equality still a far cry in Indian workplaces: Mercer study

Gender equality still a far cry in Indian workplaces: Mercer study

India Inc still has a long way to go for true gender equality at the workplace, according to the results of Mercer’s 2021 India Total Remuneration Survey (TRS), highlighting the state of female participation in the Indian workforce and representation in leadership positions and inclusion.

As part of the survey, nearly 80 percent of the respondents reported gender ratios for their different jobs, with data indicating that the companies are focused on improving their efforts on diversity.

This report was released to mark International Women’s Day 2022 with this year’s theme focused on breaking biases.

The Mercer survey gathers data from 900+ companies, across 5,700 job functions and over 14 lakh cumulative employees. The study analyses how insufficient representation of women in leadership roles continues to impact pay equity.

The data showed the continued trend of females’ improved representation at the professional level ranging from 20-30 percent across industries. In the technology sector, the female representation was seen at 43 percent at the entry levels, but the representation drastically reduced to 12-17 percent at the managerial level, and was an abysmal 4-8 percent at executive levels.

The industries with a better female representation were IT, Customer Service, Engineering and Science, Human Resources, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, among others. Jobs such as legal, Compliance and Audit, and Sales, Marketing and Product Management had a poor representation of females.

Revealing an interesting insight while keeping all variables the same, the study showed that female compensation to male pay ratio was 95-99 percent at the entry level. Unfortunately, this ratio dropped drastically dropped when it came to women executives at mid to senior levels who earned only about 87-95 percent of their male peers. Some reasons for this drop in pay were the slow pace of promotions, development opportunities, and women representation in roles that drive organisation value creation or P&L ownership.

In a press statement, Mansee Singhal, Sr Principal, Rewards Consulting Leader India, said:

“The concept of gender equality is embedded in Indian Constitution. Organisations are broadly committed to diversity and inclusion, but there seems to be a lack of accountability to drive the progress internally. While the new labour codes focusing on improving women employment, pay and security at workplace are welcome, companies have to take quick strides in truly integrating and empowering women. Our research shows that if women representation improves in roles that are closer to value creation, then equity would seem to be a more achievable goal.”

The Mercer Total Remuneration survey was conducted in the latter half of 2021 and can be used as a single source of market data and insights across sectors and jobs. It includes insights on the salary trends across industries and sectors, premium on new hire salaries across tenures and the sectors which faced the most difficulty in recruiting and retaining talent. The survey included responses from sectors like technology, services, life sciences, automotive, manufacturing, logistics, energy and consumer amongst others.

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