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Skillsoft study: Gaps in workplace equality and professional development for women in tech in India

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Skillsoft, a firm in corporate digital learning, revealed its latest report centered on the current state of women in tech in India. Skillsoft’s 2022 Women in Tech Report – India Region sheds light on the gaps in learning and development opportunities in the workplace for female tech professionals.

With one in two surveyed women in tech agreeing that advanced technical skills helped them reach their current role, the importance of upskilling and training opportunities cannot be understated. However, only half (~52 per cent) say their employers offer training as a benefit. This comes at a time when 76 per cent of IT decision-makers report skills gaps on their teams, according to Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report. Providing opportunities for training and professional development is a major benefit for employers and employees alike as it can help fill crucial skills shortages and put women on a path for career advancement.

“The percentage of women in the Indian IT sector has risen over the last decade. While the trend is promising, albeit gradual, in order to maintain momentum, women must be empowered with new opportunities to take on tech roles and provided access to continuous upskilling opportunities,” said Rashim Mogha, General Manager – Leadership and Business Portfolio, Skillsoft.

“In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we look to #BreakTheBias by encouraging organizations to extend learning and development opportunities and resources to women at all levels,” added Mogha.

Per data collated by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, as of December 2021, India’s urban female labour force declined to 7.2 per cent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic — down from 9.5 per cent in December 2019. According to Skillsoft’s report, two-thirds of women in tech say men outnumber them at their organisation for leadership roles at ratios of 2-to-1 or greater. This ratio is even higher for those working in tech companies (72 per cent). Women have also identified top challenges in tech roles including lack of equity in opportunities (47 per cent) and underrepresentation of women in the tech field (46 per cent).

Skillsoft’s 2022 Women in Tech Report – India Region proposes key methods for organisations to empower their female employees, including:

Offer ample learning opportunities

  • When asked which employee benefits they value most, the second largest percentage (52 per cent) cited opportunities for professional development/training, just behind health insurance (55 per cent) and ahead of flexible work (49 per cent) and maternity leave (48 per cent).
  • 42 per cent of those surveyed cited the limited pipeline of women studying STEM in high school/college as a significant challenge in their industry, indicating the need for learning on-the-job.

Top Areas of Interest for Women in Tech

When asked which tech-related areas respondents are most interested in learning more about, these topped the list:

  • Data Management (34 per cent)
  • Leadership And Management (33 per cent)
  • Project Management (32 per cent)
  • Programming Languages (29 per cent)
  • Cybersecurity (28 per cent)
  • Cloud Computing (28 per cent)

Employing the desired incentives of encouragement

  • 44 per cent of those surveyed ranked professional development / training opportunities as one of the top five incentives that their organisations could employ to encourage more women to pursue tech-related careers.
  • Training opportunities are crucial levers of encouragement, second only to seeing an increase in women in tech-related leadership roles. Nearly one in two (~47 per cent) women say that seeing more women in leadership roles would encourage others to pursue tech-related careers.
  • As an incentive of encouragement, professional development trumps benefits like childcare (29 per cent) and work-life benefits (41 per cent).
  • 35 per cent of women look for tech-related job fairs or networking opportunities from their organisation.

Boost access to certifications

  • 89 per cent of women working in tech roles say that they have either already worked towards a certification or are in the process of getting one.
  • More employees who work at core tech companies have certifications or plan to earn one (96 per cent) than do those who work for a non-tech company (88 per cent).
  • In terms of desired certification courses, programming languages, ITIL/IT service management, technical writing, and data management top the list.

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