It’s a new cliché for a new age: Behind every successful information technology (IT) firm are a bunch of talented women.
Women now comprise 25 per cent of the 2 lakh-strong employee strength of Indian IT majors like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro, Infosys and Satyam.
Most of these companies have seen a huge jump in the number of female employees in the past two years.
Twenty-eight per cent of Infosys’s employees are women, up 22 per cent from the 2004 financial year. Similarly, women comprise 24 per cent of the workforce in Wipro and TCS. That’s up 55 per cent and 58 per cent respectively from 2004.
So, what’s behind this trend?
“Women are suited to work within the IT-ITES industry as they are good communicators,” said Sangeeta Gupta, vice-president of Nasscom.
Professor DB Pathak of IIT Mumbai agrees, “Women are good at multi-tasking and collaborative team play, which come in handy when dealing with multiple clients of IT companies.”
Ask the women in the industry, and most will admit they enjoy the challenges the IT sector throws up before them.
“This industry is very intellectually challenging and one is constantly learning as technological changes happen rapidly. The work environment is also safe and flexible,” said Priti Rao, head of Infosys’ Pune development centre. She completes nine years in Infosys next week.
“It’s the dynamism in this industry that drew me to it,” admitted Anita Rajan, executive assistant to S Ramadorai, CEO of TCS. “It’s a high pressure and demanding job but there is lot of learning too. That is what makes my job exciting and challenging.”
Ritu Anand, a Phd in Psychology, who joined TCS 15 years ago, has a different take on the benefits of working in the IT industry. “The best part is that there is no gender bias here. It all depends on merit and performance.” Anand is currently vice-president (human resources) at TCS.
Women are probably drawn to IT companies because these firms tend to be more conscious of women’s needs. IT firms regularly conduct programmes to educate employees about their discrimination and harassment policies. They organise self-defense classes and workshops on issues relevant to women -- including balancing work and home, leadership and assertiveness
According to Nasscom, the ratio of men to women in the software industry is 76:24 at present. This is likely to change to 65:35 by 2007.