Women in leadership see upward trend in IT/ITES, FMCG and manufacturing sectors: Study

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on October 20, 2021

The study, however, found that BFSI and Pharma industries registered a dip in women at leadership levels

Women participation at corporate leadership level in IT/ITeS, FMCG and manufacturing sectors have witnessed an upward trend in 2021 as organisations are increasingly focusing on diversity in leadership to reduce risk and to combat business disruptions, according to a new report.

The 2021 Working Mother & Avtar 100 Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) report states that women participation in corporate leadership in the IT/ITeS sector moved to 18 per cent in 2021 from 14 per cent in 2020. The ratio of women at leadership level in the FMCG sector increased to 19 per cent in 2021 from 15 per cent in 2020 while in the case of the manufacturing sector, it improved to 9 per cent from 5 per cent during the period.

The sixth edition of the BCWI report, with approximately 340 corporates covering major industries, geography and line of business, was conducted by diversity advocate and workplace inclusion expert Avtar in association with Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media).


“This year’s study results indicate that companies are consciously evolving in their own diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) maturity. This is primarily based on three factors, viz., their leadership intent, the industry they belong to and the history of their DEI journey thus far,” said Saundarya Rajesh, Founder – President, Avtar.

BFSI and Pharma trend

The study, however, found that BFSI and Pharma industries registered a dip in women at leadership levels. While their participation in the BFSI sector dipped to 15 per cent in 2021 from 18 per cent in 2020, their participation at leadership level in the pharma industry went down to 18 per cent (22 percent).

The 2021 top 10 best companies (in the alphabetical order) under BCWI include Accenture Solutions, Citi India, Deloitte in India, Deutsche Bank Group, EY, Genpact India , IBM India, Infosys, Mastercard Incorporated and ZS Associates India.

“In a lot of cases economic progress is very closely related to an organisation's pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion. There are several studies which show that there is a causation between an organisation which is at the top of the diversity pyramid and the fact that they are very profitable,” Rajesh said while launching the report virtually.

Responding to a question on increasing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) participation in achieving gender diversity goals, Rajesh said MSMEs are already doing a lot of good work in case of DEI and a lot more MSMEs will engage in more diversity, equity and inclusion-based activities if the government encourages them with some kind of financial incentives.

The virtual event also saw the launch of the third edition of the Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI). The study focused on inclusion efforts for gender, culture, people with disabilities and LGBTQ Community.

The top 10 companies (in alphabetical order) that emerged as champions of inclusion under MICI index are Accenture Solutions, Citi India, Cushman & Wakefield India, Deloitte in India, EY, IBM India, Mastercard Incorporated, Pegasystems Worldwide India, Target Corporation India and Tech Mahindra.

“It is noteworthy that the disruptions of 2020, have further accelerated the pace of DEI progress in the Best Companies, with 73 per cent of them having reported an increase in their DEI spend, Rajesh said. “As per the data from 2021 Working Mother and Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), 95 per cent companies have built their KPIs/KRAs on diversity, equity, & inclusion for their people managers across levels.”

Published on October 20, 2021

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