Women’s path to leadership: Still a leaky pipeline for India Inc.

While women’s representation at entry levels has moved up 5% in 5 years (from
33% in 2017 to 38% in 2022), there continues to be a 50% downfall when it comes
to women in senior roles


Women Leading Business Units stagnates at 14% between 2017 and 2022

There is a slump in the percentage of women direct reportees to CEO from 17% in
2017 to 16% in 2022

Chennai, October 17, 2022:  Avtar Group, India’s pioneers in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Consulting, today announced the Seventh Edition of Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women
in India (BCWI) report.  Avtar also announced the Fourth Edition of the Avtar & Seramount Most
Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), a pioneer inclusion Index in the country that recognizes
companies whose inclusion intent transcends all diversity dimensions. 

The seventh edition of BCWI – MICI study commenced in February 2022 and had 351 companies
spanning different industry sectors participating in the study which had over 300 questions across
seven key areas.  While the study revealed that representation of women at entry levels continues
to increase (from 33% in 2017 to 38% in 2022), the female talent pipeline continues to bleed – it
goes down by 9% at managerial roles (23% in 2017 and 26% women in 2022), further dips to 18% in
senior managerial level and 17% in corporate executive level.

Amongst the companies that feature in the 100 best companies for women in India list, 33% were
Indian companies and the rest were multinational companies.
2022 Top 10 Avtar & Seramount Best Companies for Women in India, listed A-Z alphabetically are:
Accenture Solutions Private Ltd.
Barclays in India
Citi India
Genpact India Pvt. Ltd.
Infosys Limited
Mastercard India
Tech Mahindra Limited
ZS Associates India Pvt. Ltd.
The companies that participated in 2022 Avtar & Seramount Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI)
and scored an Inclusion Index score of above 75% are placed in the prestigious Champions of
Inclusion Index.

The Champions of Inclusion -2022, presented A-Z, alphabetically are:
Accenture Solutions Private Ltd.
AXA XL India Business Services Pvt. Ltd.
Citi India
Infosys Limited
Mastercard India
Target Corporation India Pvt Ltd
Tech Mahindra Limited
Wipro Limited

Tabling the BCWI – MICI study, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, Founder-President, Avtar said, “Women’s
representation continues to improve, when we looked at a 5-year data frame. However, we must
note that the increase is primarily because of more women at entry level. With an equitable talent
supply at this level (49.5% of college graduates in India today are women), pursuing gender balance
at the entry point is non-negotiable at 100 Best. However, as we move up the talent pipeline the drop
in representation of women at senior levels is stark. This is despite the robust career enhancement
programmes at these companies – with 98% of 100 Best companies providing mentoring support to
women, 94% providing executive coaching and 97% having ERGs for women.”

She further added, “To ensure that we are able to permeate balance across corporate levels and
build the women’s leadership pipeline, concerted organizational and societal efforts are required.
Celebrating women leaders and sharing their stories of success, nurturing a culture of allyship and
advocacy, conducting periodic audits of HR processes to ensure gender parity and promoting support
around work-life especially around senior career stages are very important. For example, elder care
support is fast catching up in our 100 Best companies – 75% of our 100 Best companies have policies
to support elder caregivers. In the hybrid work model that is here to stay, societal enablement by way
of improved facilities for child-care and elder care and family units that hold value for career
ambitions of women can change the narrative.”

Subha V. Barry, President of Seramount added, “The 2022 BCWI-MICI results illustrate a clear path
to progress. The 100 Best Companies continue to lean in on career advancement for women in forms
of sponsorship, mentorship, and returnship programs, as well as benefits that support their working
mothers. The Most Inclusive Companies Index places emphasis on identifying and developing diverse
talent, utilizing best practices in DEI trainings, holding managers accountable for their DEI results,
and more. It is through measures like these that ensure inclusive workplaces are built. We at
Seramount are proud to honor these forward-thinking organizations.”

Key findings of 2022 BCWI
34.86% of women hold positions in the companies, as per the gender distribution across levels,
as against men who hold 65.14%
In the promotion rates of men and women for the 100 best companies, the latter stood at
9.64% while the former was at 9.21%.

The attrition rates of women stood at 23.32% and men stood at 23.75%.

Career development of talent is an important part of the diversity agenda at the best

The initiatives include interventions, developing strategic soft skills, conducting
second career development programmes and P&L training.

While women representation in IT/ITES industry remained at 35% in both 2021 and 2022, the
number declined from 18% to 13% in FMCG and 22% to 24% in Pharma. It was a positive trend
in consulting and BFSI sectors are the numbers rose from 43% in 2021 to 45% in 2022 and 31%
in 2021 to 33% in 2022 respectively. As per the report released, the representation of women
increased from 14% in 2016 to 19% in 2022 in the manufacturing sector, which is a 35% growth
rate. The women’s representation has doubled in 7 years in the pharma industry.

95% of companies on the index have a structured DEI council to drive their DEI agenda. The
report forecasts 40.6% of women representation in the 100 best companies by 2025.

As regards the promotion trends, amid the VUCA challenges, it is heartening to note that the
overall promotion rate at the 2022 – 100 Best Companies of women employees stood at 9.64%
which is up from 6.1% (last year) vis-à-vis 9.21% (which is also up from 5.6% last year) of men

The trend among the Top 10 Companies for women in India – 10.5% a good jump
from 4.36% last year of women employees as against the 10.13% which has also seen a rise
from 3.94% last year of male employees.

There has been an uptick in the number of companies offering initiatives for diversity, equity
and inclusion – percentage of companies offering mentoring has moved up from 75% in 2016 to
98% in 2022, percentage of companies offering career sponsorship has moved from 45% in
2016 to 79% in 2022.

Gender pay parity is another priority for the top 2022-100 Best. 86% of these companies have
mechanisms to measure and benchmark gender pay equity, showing that 100 Best companies
consider pay parity as a very important pre-requisite for gender inclusion.

Women’s earnings continue to be on the rise. While in 2016, 14% of Top 20% earners in the 100
Best were women, this comes close to 20% in 2022.

The Diversity and Inclusion Intent amongst companies on the 2022 Most Inclusive Companies
Index run deep. Gender, Generation, PwD, LGBTQ, Nationality and Socio-economic diversity are
strands for which these companies have focused initiatives.

Companies that feature in MICI together employ 4660 people with disabilities.
97.5% of companies on the index train their hiring managers to be culturally sensitive
and competent.

82.5% of companies on MICI have LGBTQ networks for their employees – 100% of champions
have LGBTQ networks for their employees and 77% of Exemplars do this.

As for POSH sensitisation, E-learning modules with a value of 97% is used.

Sharing guidelines on POSH across virtual platforms with a value of 99% has been used for POSH
amendments to address sexual harassment in the virtual mode of working.
Other Highlights

  1. Value of Flextime was at 96% for the 100 best companies as flexibility has become a
    strategic employee enabler for the employees in these companies.
  2. The best companies ensure that new parents are supported through an array of benefits
    including paid leave, postpartum stress support and adoption assistance. Maternity leave
    with the value of 100% is provided in the 100 best companies.
  3. The 100 best companies are offering leave and support across the parental leave spectrum
    which is important to retain and grow employees, specifically at the mid-career stage.
  4. The best companies are keen to support their employees across all facets of life. From
    offering childcare support to elder care support to stress counselling, these companies focus
    on the emotional well-being of the employees.
  5. 97% of the best companies offer support for mental health consultation.

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