According to global research from Booking.com, one of the world’s largest travel commerce companies and a digital technology leader, 75% of women in tech in India, highest globally feel that gender diversity is a top priority for the industry; and only 26% feel that their company does not prioritize gender diversity enough, compared to the global average of 54%. However while initiatives to close the gender gap and encourage more women into tech are having some success, tech companies and the industry need to demonstrate greater commitment to nurturing female talent – not only those considering or starting a tech career, but also established experts in the field.
In fact 83% of female re-entrants to tech in India feel that taking a career break is detrimental to their individual progression and believe (87%) that the industry needs to actively do more to support their re-entry to the field. For technology companies to attract much-needed talent, we are seeing a shift in focus. In addition to retaining talent, businesses are bolstering their efforts to re-attract women who have left the sector and are looking to return.
Tapping into the value that women returning to tech can bring
A rise in ‘returnships’, or re-entry schemes is raising hopes, not just in technology but also at law firms, professional services and other sectors. 86% of women returning to tech believe that such programs – often focused on training, re-skilling, upskilling and mentorships – are key to overcoming re-entry challenges. Those returning to the field want to feel empowered and build from their previous experience rather than feel like they are starting from the beginning. Almost half of Indian women re- entrants to tech consider regular upskilling opportunities to be essential to their success in tech (45%).
Encouragingly, these programs are empowering women with the skills and support they need to progress. In fact, 81% of re-entrants say they had access to a mentor upon their return to work – something women in tech identified as essential to their career success. 88% also say their company helped them update their technical or other skills following a return. These figures are highest globally.
“Driving greater gender diversity in tech is as much about unearthing untapped talent as it is about supporting women who have already built the skills, knowledge and expertise in our sector. Diversifying talent – with all aspects of experience, backgrounds and career paths – needs to be front of mind,” says Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “Over the last ten years there have been significant changes to drive positive progress towards making the tech industry a more gender diverse place to work. We need to make sure that we continue this momentum. Companies that prioritize inclusivity at every level and tap effectively into the existing talent pool as well as encouraging new talent will continue to grow and thrive.”
Women see opportunities to drive real business benefits and fuel positive, industry-wide change
The latest World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report* found that there is a widening inequality gap worldwide. Yet, women are making strong contributions across all aspects of business. When asked about the benefits that increased gender diversity can bring to the tech industry, 94% of women in tech in India – and those students interested in pursuing a tech career – said they would help diversify the sector, bringing fresh perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. They also cited greater flexibility in HR benefits (92%) and an improved work environment that would benefit all employees (91%). Beyond these cultural benefits, women increasingly feel their representation in the tech workforce will contribute to improved company and brand reputation (93%), as well as trust in tech companies in general (92%).