As India contributes nearly 31.7% of the world’s total STEM graduates while cementing its position as one of the largest STEM job marketplaces in the world, the Indian women workforce (nearly 56%) too is gearing up for ambitious career opportunities, states ‘Bridging the Skills Gap – Towards an Equal Workplace’, a comprehensive research report by NTT DATA – a digital business and IT services leader, and NLB Services – leading technology and digital talent solutions provider.
Nearly 57% of women enrolled in STEM courses are confident of securing a relevant job after completing a course as they are enrolling primarily for acquiring additional skills demanded by today’s jobs (55%) and for gaining technical knowledge (42%). Interestingly, the majority of employers surveyed (62%) intend to hire more women enrolled in STEM courses in 2023-24 as compared to the previous year.
According to industry estimates, globally, India ranks second in terms of the number of female online learners. It also indicates that the proportion of women enrolling in online STEM courses in India rose to 32% in 2021 from 22% in 2019. 54% of the employers surveyed believe that STEM education will significantly reduce the skill gap, while 61% of employers think fresh STEM graduates are ready for industry work.
Retail/E-commerce, Healthcare and Pharma, and Information Technology/Information Technology Enabled Services are the sectors where growth in the hiring of STEM-qualified women is likely during FY 2023-24. Furthermore, 58% of employers think that gender diversity can lead to higher revenue growth and the acquisition of top talent. Notably, nearly 31% of employers plan to initiate programs to attract women returning to the workplace, boosting gender diversity.
Speaking on the report, Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services, said, “The domain of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has long been suffering from a massive gender disparity. With women representing just about a quarter of the STEM workforce globally, it’s time we set out to answer the burning questions pertaining to this divide. From finding the root causes behind this gap to taking proactive steps and remedying the situation, the list of action items is long but surely not unachievable. It is encouraging to see that most employers surveyed (58%) think Gender Diversity can lead to higher revenue growth and over half of the employers (51%) also believe that Gender Diversity can lead to improved innovation. We’re proud to partner with NTT DATA to delve deeper into the situation behind the gender gap in STEM and shed light on some key data and insights through a study of women in STEM as well as organizations that seek to bring parity to the gender divide in the area.”
According to Terri Hatcher, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at NTT DATA, “As a leader in digital business and IT services, we strongly believe that promoting gender diversity is not only a social responsibility but also a crucial business imperative, as it plays a significant role in fostering innovation and driving revenue growth. We are encouraged by the findings of this survey, which demonstrate that a majority of employers (58%) recognize the positive impact of gender diversity in the workplace. At NTT DATA, we aim to create equal career opportunities for women and empower them to thrive in the digital world through our ‘Bridge The Gap’ hackathon and other initiatives. We believe, by hiring more women in STEM, we can tap into a pool of talent that has historically been underrepresented in these fields, and benefit from their unique perspectives and experiences.”
A majority (66%) of women in STEM surveyed acknowledge the importance of upskilling/reskilling in the current job market. Women in STEM identified the lack of pay parity (57%), inflexible work schedules (44%), and inadequate childcare benefits (36%) as the top gender gaps in their employment.
In addition, NTT DATA and NLB Services also jointly announced a Hackathon titled, ‘Bridge The Gap’ targeted towards women IT professionals for the second consecutive year. Through this initiative, NTT DATA and NLB Services aim to bridge the women’s participation gap in the IT sector. The month-long hackathon will be hosted from March 08, 2023, to April 16, 2023 and will offer women tech professionals a platform to showcase their skills through a series of challenges. The hackathon has been conceptualized in line with this year’s theme of International Women’s Day – #EmbraceEquity.
The study surveyed a total sample size of 250 employers from different organizations of 12 sectors spread across 15 Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. Furthermore, the study surveyed 500 women employees from organizations of various sizes, sectors, and cities.