The Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent spike in digital adoption has not only increased the demand for fresh talent in IT space but have also opened up an opportunity for organisations to become more inclusive and gender diverse, according to leading human resource and gender diversity experts.

“Today, especially after Covid there is so much talent needed across organisations and there is significant market optimism out there right now. Diversity as a topic, particularly gender and especially women is increasing. So, instead of talking about talent wars, there is an opportunity to make a radical shift in the way we hire, attract, retain and grow,” Shantha Maheswari, MD – Industry & Functions Network at Accenture.

Also read: TechPACT’s four-part webinar series on Women in Tech: India

She was speaking at a webinar ‘What it takes to recruit and retain great women talent’ hosted by TechPACT as part of a four-part webinar series titled ‘Women in Tech: India’. The webinar series was sponsored by SRM Technologies with BusinessLine as the media partner.

‘Equity in everything’

However, Maheswari added that it is not just about representation of women but also about ‘equity’, be it the role, growth, representation, thoughts or innovation.

“I think equity is still an issue. But there can’t be a better time than the present optimism that we see in the market to really tap into the talent for a diverse range of sectors, ” she added.

Manju Bharadwaj, Chief People Officer at Straive (erstwhile SPi Global) said that the equal representation is evolving from a mere diversity issue to a strategic need for the businesses.

‘Look at the reality’

Amrita Samuel, Human Resources Leader & Executive Coach said, “We talk about equity and equality at the workplace, but we should also look at the reality. Even though we start off with equal representation (of women) somewhere along the way we do see the numbers dwindle and at the leadership level we see it drop to low single digit.”

Noting that old data sets of hiring no longer work, Maheswari said, “I would think inclusive way of women talent attraction requires bold leadership, empowered environment and tech-based recruitment which irons out human bias besides enabling recruiters to assess talent even from the rural area.”

‘Onus on individual’

Samuel said while organisations are investing in re-skilling, building talent, enhancing capacity and capability of women rejoining the workforce, the onus also lies on the individual to keep themselves relevant. Involving the leadership in gender gap conversations, active sponsorship from the organisation and support from male allies are some of the factors that could help organisations be gender diverse and inclusive, said Bharadwaj. The webinar was moderated by Bala Vummidi, Head - Human Resources of SRM Technologies.