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Women underrepresented in leadership roles across industries in India: Mercer study 

BL Mumbai Bureau | Updated on: Mar 07, 2022

Insufficient representation of women in leadership roles impacting pay equity, says survey

Mumbai, March 7 Women are underrepresented in leadership positions across different industries In India, according to a study by Mercer. 

According to the female-focused results of Mercer’s 2021 India Total Remuneration Survey (TRS), ‘India Inc. still has a long way to go for true gender equality at the workplace’ as nearly 80 per cent of the respondents reported gender ratios for their different jobs, with the data indicating that the companies are focused on improving their efforts on diversity.

The Mercer survey gathered data from over 900 companies, across 5,700 job functions and over 14 lakh cumulative employees, it said. 

According to the data, the continued trend of improved representation of females at the professional level ranged from 20-30 per cent across industries. In the technology sector, female representation was 43 per cent at the entry levels, but reduced significantly to 12-17 per cent at the managerial level, and was 4 to 8 per cent at executive levels.

Industries with better female representation included 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 poor representation of females. 

Keeping all variables the same, the ratio of female compensation to male pay was 95-99 per cent at the entry-level. However, the ratio dropped, with women executives at the mid- to senior levels earning only about 87-95 per cent of their male peers. 

“Some reasons for this drop in pay were the slower pace of promotions, development opportunities, and women representation in roles which drive organisation value creation or P&L ownership,” the report said. 

Mansee Singhal, Sr Principal, Rewards Consulting Leader India, said, “Organisations are broadly committed to Diversity and Inclusion, but there seems to be a lack of accountability to drive progress internally. While the new labour codes focus on improving women employment, pay and security at the 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.”

“Over the years, India Inc. has adopted progressive practices in bridging the gender pay equity and inclusion gap. Sensitisation workshops for recruiters and hiring managers, focus on campus diversity hiring, career reboot and women alumni rehiring, career and professional development for women, hyper-local, proactive safety solutions for women, targeted high potential women leadership succession candidates, focused increased representation of women in leadership roles, fueling the commitment to a culture of inclusive leadership by top management, male employees as advocates for gender diversity and inclusion,” Mercer further said.

The Mercer Total Remuneration survey was conducted in the latter half of 2021 and includes insights on 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 such as Technology, Services, Life Sciences, Automotive, Manufacturing, Logistics, Energy and Consumer, amongst others.

Published on March 07, 2022

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