The chemical and manufacturing industries, have reported an increase in female representation over the past four years, according to the study “From Rhetoric to Action - Creating Gender Inclusive Workplaces”, conducted by The Udaiti Foundation and Quess Corp, a business service provider.

The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector, has the highest percentage of women representation at 26 per cent, followed by the Consumer Services sector at 24 per cent.

Additionally, the report states that female participation among Quess associates, who are blue and grey collar workers employed by Quess clients, is relatively low, at around 17 per cent. This low representation, is attributed to various factors on both the demand and supply sides, including job roles traditionally inclined for men, women’s challenges in taking up positions requiring long hours of travel, and extended work hours beyond 6 pm.

At present, 11 per cent of the Quess workforce in the manufacturing sector is women, spanning across 400 industrial and manufacturing units. New-age manufacturing companies, especially those in the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry, are indicating a growing preference for female workers, with some companies employing up to 90 per cent female workforce on their shop floors.

“The female labour force participation in urban India is 25.4 per cent, for the above 15 age group, as per the government data, which is one of the lowest in the world. We have also taken up several initiatives such as providing accommodation, basic amenities to support migrant workers, and deploying female liaison officers at manufacturing units, to oversee welfare of female associates. We have introduced a chatbot to engage with new hires during their first 90 days to gather insights and identify potential flight risks,” said Guruprasad Srinivasan, Executive Director and CEO, Quess Corp.

The company has set a target to increase the representation of women in its core workforce from 28 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025. Quess has 37 per cent of the total 4,948 crore employees as women as of March, 2024. With respect to associates in general staffing, Quess aims to increase the women workforce from the existing 17 per cent to 25 per cent in the next couple of years.

The Udaiti Foundation is engaged with private sector organisations, state governments, and the start-up ecosystem to expand women’s economic empowerment.

(Reported by Meghna Barik)