Startups look to rev hiring of women in product, tech roles

Synopsis

According to Nasscom data, women constitute 35% of India’s technology industry, a figure that companies like Wakefit, Urban Company, Mpower Financing, EnKash and Simplilearn are looking to increase through a host of initiatives.

ETtech

Bengaluru: Even as the war for talent continues and roles in technology and product command a premium, a host of new-age companies are prioritising moving the needle on their diversity numbers.

According to Nasscom data, women constitute 35% of India’s technology industry, a figure that companies like Wakefit, Urban Company, Mpower Financing, EnKash and Simplilearn are looking to increase through a host of initiatives.

The focus is not just on attracting more women to product and technology roles, but also driving a more inclusive culture that ensures female talent is retained.

Last month, Urban Company set up a taskforce to push for representation, community building and sensitisation of hiring managers, as well as regularly liaising with company leadership on proactive steps that could be taken to build better female representation.

“Our business represents a diverse marketplace and hence we are able to attract diverse talent. Our focus is more on the retention part – through driving success stories of women leaders in tech and product roles, giving access to role models, and building structured career development plans for female talent,” Neha Mathur, senior VP of people success, Urban Company, told ET.

At sleep and home solutions firm Wakefit, women make up a quarter of the technology team, which the Bengaluru-based company is looking to take to half. Company leaders have been proactively requesting talent acquisition teams to focus on a 50-50 ratio while sourcing candidates, in a bid to recruit more woman technologists, said director and cofounder Chaitanya Ramalingegowda.

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Mpower Financing, too, has instructed its recruitment team to source more female candidates and is running sensitisation programmes to ensure bias-free hiring and interviews, said Ashwini Kumar, general manager – India.

Companies are also rolling out flexible work options, access to leadership, mentoring sessions and returnship programmes to plug the leaky talent pipeline.

Edtech firm Simplilearn has allowed employees in its technology team the option to work remotely, a move that founder and CEO Krishna Kumar says has been particularly helpful for female employees.

“We are also thinking of reworking our promotions policy to ensure that deserving women employees are fast-tracked to leadership levels,” said Kumar.

Last month, all-in-one spends management and corporate cards company EnKash rolled out a returnship programme aimed at bringing women technologists back to the workforce.

The company is recruiting women who were on career breaks and giving them the option to ease back into the workforce with roles like quality assurance, UI/UX testing, and running training for product teams which allows them to work in flexible timings. These women will then be hired full-time in tech and product roles, said Naveen Bindal, a cofounder of the Mumbai-based startup.

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