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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Companies are taking steps to increase the gender ratio in STEM fields

Companies take steps to boost gender ratio in STEM

 

Delhi, India: In STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), gender diversity is difficult to achieve. There are also a lot of male-dominated industries like real estate and infrastructure. However, role models who can help turn the tide are now appearing.


In its R&D department, which employs over 750 people, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has achieved gender parity across all levels. "We realized there was a significant issue in terms of having women representation in science and technology across India," stated HUL executive director (R&D) Vibhav Sanzgiri. Women make up about 16% of the R&D workforce. We made the decision to promote gender parity throughout our R&D team, not just at entry-level positions. Women scientists and technologists now make up 50% of our entire HUL R&D function, and they also make up 50% of our R&D leaders.


The pool for STEM ability is limited. HUL decided to think outside the box because companies in the IT, technology, and other industries are constantly competing for this talent. We reached out to a more diverse group of female talent outside of engineers to get into other sciences like nutrition, cosmetology, microbiology, chemistry, and even psychology. Sanzgiri stated, "This gave us a larger and more diverse pool from which to choose."


Anuradha Razdan, executive director of human resources at HUL, stated that HUL has established accelerator feeder programs to ensure a steady supply of talent due to the difficulty of recruiting more women into roles such as R&D, supply chain, manufacturing, and sales.


On the other hand, among the 5,000 full-time employees of the digital networks company STL, about 300 women are employed in various plant capacities in a variety of domains and roles. An all-female team runs the optical cable factory's coloring department across three locations. "We believe that a gender-diverse workforce enables a diversity of thought, new ways of working, equal opportunity, and creative problem-solving," stated STL Chief Executive Officer Anjali Byce.


Over 150 women operate STL's core operations across all units. New revenue was generated when the team shipped a significant shipment of connectivity solutions to a significant European client. We are not letting this achievement pass us by because we are proud of it. Byce stated, "We want to increase the diversity ratio from the current approximately 20% to 50%."


Another customarily male-overwhelmed area is realty. 15 female civil engineers from Mahindra Lifespaces' campus recruitment program have been hired as graduate engineer trainees (GETs) for the first time. Krity Sharma, head of people at Mahindra Lifespaces, stated, "We are taking another step towards a diverse workplace." The company has a gender diversity ratio of 21%, which is higher than the average for the industry. The point currently is to improve this to 30% by monetary year 2030.


The leadership level is another area where businesses in India Inc. struggle to achieve adequate gender diversity. Women are breaking through the glass ceiling thanks to some. At the leadership level, Kellogg India now has 50:50 gender representation. Additionally, for the first time, there are approximately 45 percent women on the leadership team at the company's Taloja plant, which employs 200 people. According to Kellogg South Asia director of human resources Nimisha Das, "it's no longer about having the statutory 25-30% women, but truly becoming an organization that is gender-balanced."


95% of organizations in a Dale Carnegie study on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at hybrid workplaces in India concur that diversity fosters an atmosphere conducive to consensus-building on common issues. According to the study, although the majority of businesses are aware of the significance of diversity, less than 25% of all employees have adopted it.


Razdan stated that, based on employee feedback, it is evident that women stay with an organization due to the culture, flexibility, and work policies, but most importantly, the quality of the work.


For HUL, the journey began in 2010, when gender diversity in the managerial workforce was 18 percent. We currently have 45% of the workforce working in management, and by 2025, we will have 50%. Razdan stated, "The next step is to raise the numbers for diversity on the manufacturing side and in frontline sales."


Under the direction of Ficci-WISE Council, the company is currently establishing the HUL STEM Women's Scholarship. Twenty female Masters/PhD students at India's leading educational institutions will receive financial support from us. Sanzgiri stated, "This scholarship will be one of a kind because, in addition to the financial grant, the selected scholars will be mentored by leadership at HUL and both internal and external scientists."

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