A World Economic Forum report prepared along with the Observer Research Foundation has found that many successful companies in India prefer hiring more men than women. The report, highlighting the major gender gap in Indian corporates, surveyed 770 companies. The companies ranged from micro-sized firms to those employing more than 25,000 workers. The survey took place across four industries — textiles, banking and financial services, logistics and transportation and retail — to understand how technology impacts the workforce.

The report highlights findings from the Future of Work, Education and Skills Enterprise Survey. The findings are based on the pace of technological adoption and digitisation among Indian companies, and its impact on job creation, displacement and nature of work.

Key Highlights

  • The WEF study found that women are entering the workforce at a slower rate than current female workforce participation.
  • It highlighted that India’s female workforce participation is a mere 27 per cent and stands 23 per cent points lower than global average.
  • The study surveyed 770 companies experiencing an upward growth.
  • The report also mention worldwide concern that technology adoption may displace human workers, leading to jobless growth.

Findings of the study

Growth in companies 

  • The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), a part of the report, showed that more women now go to college than men. There are as many women as there are men in undergraduate science programmes.
  • Companies in India are optimistic about the future and are open to the possibilities presented by new technologies and digitisation. This is likely to enhance innovation and adoption of new technology, leading to transformation, growth and progress. 
  • The findings show that there is overall technology-led job growth. However, it’s men who are reaping most benefits.

Grave inequality

  • Although jobs in India are experiencing the highest growth, the companies are hiring women at only 26 per cent.
  • India’s female workforce participation is mere 27 per cent and stands 23 per cent points lower than global average.
  • Only 11 per cent of the companies said they wanted to hire more women.
  • 36 per cent of companies directly voiced a preference for men.
  • Sector-wise, 79 per cent companies in retail and 77 per cent in transport & logistics have less than 10 per cent female employees.
  • Companies, in both retail and transport sectors, also stated they prefer hiring men the most, at 43 and 48 per cent respectively.
  • The survey found banking and finance companies have 61% female participation while textiles have 64 per cent.

The study also found that the workforce trend is shifting towards independent, freelance and informal labour, which again is giving more advantage to men

  • Of the companies surveyed, 22 per cent stated they’ll replace permanent workers with contract workers in the next five years.
  • The concept of informal work also includes unpaid work of family members. In this, women’s participation is three times more than men. 66 per cent of work by women is unpaid, while male work is 12 per cent unpaid.
  • Study reveals that 75 per cent of freelancers are men. Participation of women in freelance work dropped from 37 per cent for women with up to five years’ experience to 10 per cent for women with more than 10 years’ experience.
  • Men with 10 to 20 years experience are paid 30 per cent more than their female colleagues.
  • Only less than a quarter of the companies provide maternity leave for permanent employees.

The report sets out recommendations, too, for an inclusive future of work. It stresses that digital solutions will offer new ways to skill and educate the workforce. These enhancements will offer new platforms to connect workers to employment opportunities.

Also Read: What The Teen Age Girls Report 2018 Says: #ListenToHer

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