India Inc is said to be casting the net wide to hire women for leadership roles. Specific mandates are being given to executive search firms to look for women candidates for top-level posts. Such mandates were earlier given by organisations for mid-level roles to boost their gender diversity ratios.
While the number of women who enter the organised workforce is almost equal to that of men, they drop out at mid- to senior-levels due to various reasons, including critical life stages like maternity. The pipeline thins down further as one moves up the hierarchy, which is why women in leadership roles are far fewer today. But this might just change with companies giving specific mandates to hiring agencies to bring women candidates for top-level positions.
Maersk Global Services Centre senior director (HR) Pratap G said, “In India, women constitute nearly half of the working age population, and we want to be able to access that talent pool, especially at leadership levels as one way to fulfil our goals. We have targets for women at leadership. However, we have consciously kept away from ‘quota-based approach’ to diversity and instead focus on inclusion levers to drive it.”
As to whether Maersk has given specific mandates to hiring agencies to look for the right-fit women candidates for leadership roles, Pratap responded in the affirmative. “We have given mandates for targeted searches in select roles for specific right-fit women leader profiles. Some such are currently under way. Such mandates were in our new digital capability centre, where the BI (business intelligence) practice and site leader role is headed by a woman, and functions like HR,” said Pratap. Search mandates are also on the rise for women directors even in companies that already have a woman member on the board. Puri said, “Over the last three months, we have done 75% board positions for women candidates. These include several companies where there was already a woman board member and they were looking for an additional candidate.”