Women’s careers are facing tailwinds as India is at a pivotal stage, where companies are in a war for skilled talent, and incidentally, 50 per cent of the Indian workforce are women, believes Neha Bagaria, the Founder of HerKey, a platform dedicated to empowering women’s participation in India’s workforce, sheds light on this remarkable transformation.

The pandemic, however, has been a catalyst for transformation. What were once challenges have now turned into opportunities. “For the first time, circumstances have shifted in our favor, and we’re seizing these opportunities,” Bagaria observes. She goes on to emphasise that “Workplace flexibility is no longer viewed negatively.”

HerKey, a platform with over four million active users, is on a mission to match the right talent with 15,000 Indian companies. Bagaria envisions HerKey assisting 30 million women in finding jobs within over one lakh companies in India over the next five years.

However, HerKey’s goals extend beyond job placement. The company is committed to upskilling and mentoring women, having partnered with over 2,000 mentors and 800 educational institutions to help women “reinstate, reskill, and retain.”

According to Bagaria, opportunities are set to arise in sectors like IT, BFSI, Retail, and SMEs. She dispels the misconception that women are solely seeking work-from-home options, explaining, “60 per cent of the women on our platform are looking for full-time opportunities, while 10 per cent prefer part-time roles, and the rest seek work-from-home options.”

Bagaria, who has been honored with the businessline changemaker award, acknowledges a concerning issue within Indian companies—a “leaky talent pipeline.” While they begin with 30 per cent of women at the entry level, this percentage dramatically drops to 10 per cent at the management level, and eventually, only 1 per cent reach the CXO level. HerKey is determined to be a driving force in changing this narrative.

Bagaria underscores that Indian women aspire to rejoin the workforce, and a flexible work environment is what they desire most. As a result, companies are realising the need to adapt their policies and work environments to attract and retain skilled talent.

The demand for top-tier talent predominantly originates from the six major metro cities. However, there is now a growing interest in tapping into talent from tier-two cities, as Bagaria points out, “The talent pool in metro cities is incredibly expensive, but skilled workers are emerging from tier-two cities as well.”