85% working women in India claim to have missed out on hike due to gender:LinkedIn

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 02, 2021

India’s working women still contend the strongest gender bias across Asia-Pacific countries, the report said.

Though a majority of people feel that gender equality has improved in India, working women in the country claim to have missed out on professional opportunities due to their gender, according to a report by LinkedIn.

Towards International Women’s Day 2021, LinkedIn has launched the Opportunity Index 2021 report, a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive opportunities and the barriers that stand in the way of achieving them. This year’s report dives deep to understand how women perceive opportunities and how the gender gap is further slowing down career progress for working women in India amid the pandemic.

According to the report, 4 in 5 working women (85 per cent) in India claim to have missed out on raise, promotion or work offer because of their gender, compared to the regional average of 60 per cent.

This is even as 66 per cent of people in India feel that gender equality has improved compared to their parents’ age.

“India’s working women still contend the strongest gender bias across Asia-Pacific countries,” the report said.

While sharing their reasons for being unhappy with opportunities to advance in their careers, 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of Indian working women said that their companies exhibit a ‘favourable bias’ towards men at work, when compared to the regional average of 16 per cent.

Gender disparity

The report further highlighted the difference in perception of available opportunities in the market for men and women in India.

While 37 per cent of India’s working women claimed to have received fewer opportunities than men due to gender, only 25 per cent of men agree with this.

“This disparity in perception is also seen in conversations about equal pay, as more women (37 per cent) say they get less pay than men, while only 21 per cent men share this sentiment,” it added.

Furthermore, despite having similar goals in life, more women (63 per cent) think a person’s gender is important to get ahead in life when compared to men (54 per cent).

Overall, the top three job opportunities sought by professionals in India are job security, a job that they love, and a good work-life balance.

Familial and household responsibilities have also added to the issue. More than 7 in 10 working women (71 per cent) and working mothers (77 per cent) feel that managing familial responsibilities often come in their way of career development. Apart from this 63 per cent of working women and 69 per cent of working mothers said they have faced discrimination at work because of familial and household responsibilities.

Impact of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed further challenges with 9 in 10 (89 per cent) women stating that they were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“Women have been disproportionately impacted amid Covid-19, and the expectations to juggle home and work life have wreaked havoc in their lives,” the report said.

“As a result of the barriers faced by women at work, more than 1 in 2 women and working mothers in India expect organizations to offer reduced or part-time schedules (56 per cent) and robust maternity leaves and policies (55 per cent) to make the transition smoother,” it added.

“Telecommuting or Work-From-Home has also been appreciated by women across the workforce in India during the pandemic, and it is seen as the top-ranking demand for women in the workforce today, along with other flexibility programs,” it further added.

Choice of employer and job opportunities

Working women are also giving more importance to the type of employer that they choose to work, the recognition they will receive for the work they do, and the skills that will be utilised on the job despite job security being a critical factor.

As per LinkedIn’s findings, women are actively seeking employers who treat them as equal (50 per cent), while 56 per cent are looking to get recognition at work for what they do.

More than 1 in 2 women are also looking for more professional connections and mentors who can help them advance their careers, as 65 per cent of women agree that lack of guidance through networks is a key opportunity barrier.

“Lack of required professional skills and a lack of guidance through networks and connections are also some of the other barriers that get in the way of career development for working women in India,” the report said.

“Gender inequality at work and added domestic responsibilities amid the pandemic have collectively made women’s jobs more vulnerable at this time. As COVID-19 continues to widen these gaps, this year’s LinkedIn Opportunity Index report suggests that it is the need of the hour for organisations to reimagine their diversity practices and offer greater flexibility to caregivers, in order to increase female participation in the workforce. Reduced and flexible schedules, more sabbaticals, and new opportunities to upskill and learn are critical offerings that can help organizations attract, hire, and retain more female talent,” said Ruchee Anand, Director, Talent and Learning Solutions, India at LinkedIn.

The Indian workforce

The report also provides a general perspective on the impact of the “ailing economy and working in isolation” on the Indian workforce.

86 per cent of Indians state that they were negatively impacted by the pandemic. Overall, 9 in 10 Indians faced pay-cuts, job losses, and reduced work hours due to Covid-19.

“In addition to shrinking opportunities, professionals in India also battle the perils of working in isolation, as over 3 in 5 (65 per cent) Indians cited lower productivity while working from home,” the report said.

“Further analysis shows that too many distractions, interrupted internet connectivity and difficulty in planning work are the top most setbacks faced by professionals in India when working remotely,” it added.

Professionals are turning to upskilling and choosing new career paths to remain resilient. Two in three (65 per cent) professionals expect the economy to improve by June 2021. About 3 in 5 (57 per cent) Indians are actively looking to learn new hard skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and Business Analytics, and soft skills such as Creative Thinking, Problem Solving, and Time Management. While 1 in 2 (51 per cent) professionals are looking to shift to new career paths, and 3 in 5 (61 per cent) are pursuing roles that allow them to use their skills.

LinkedIn in a bid to help working women is making five LinkedIn Learning courses available for free till March 31, 2021. These include Leadership Strategies for Women, Planning Your Family Leave and Return, Proven Success Strategies for Women at Work, Own It: The Power of Women at Work and Becoming a Male Ally at Work.

Published on March 02, 2021

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