Over 90% Indian firms list gender, disability as priority areas in HR policies: Mercer

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2012

It couldn’t get better for women in corporate India. For, 91 per cent of the companies surveyed by global human resource firm, Mercer, listed ‘gender’ as a top focus area. The companies said they would make efforts to give more leadership roles to women.

‘Disability’ was second on the priority list of Indian companies, with 39 per cent of the 31 surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, affirming its importance. A few said they already had a diversity strategy specific to people with disabilities, including targeted recruitment and creating a work environment for specific needs, the Mercer survey said.

A total of 60 per cent of the participating companies in India reported having a diversity and inclusion strategy in place.

“Diversity and inclusion strategies are gaining a strong foothold within India Inc…. We expect it to grow further…’” said Ms Shanthi Naresh, Principal, Human Capital, Mercer India, in a release.

Companies said their efforts in 2012 would mainly focus on two initiatives - developing women for leadership roles and attracting more diverse talent to their organisations, especially with the fast changing demography.

Besides trying to attract more women, Indian companies said strategies were needed to retain female talent so that recruitment and training efforts do not go waste.

A case in point is Infosys. “In 2000, only 10 per cent of our workforce was women. So there was a clear need to set internal tagets to change this…Today, 50 per cent of the graduates recruited are women and 34 per cent of our total work force is female, Ms Nandita Gurjar, group HR head, Infosys, is quoted in the report.

Among Infosys’ various initiatives to engage and retain women, were initiatives such as priority transfers in the same location as husband, extended maternity leave and the option to work from home, office location close to home for nursing mothers, extended sabbatical for child and elderly care etc.

However, the Mercer survey noted that many companies in Asia Pacific said they were failing to gain commitment from their business leaders. More than half of the companies said their business leaders understood the importance of diversity and inclusion but did not see it as part of business strategy.

Published on May 07, 2012

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