49% IIM women alumni say they do not have equal opportunities for career growth: Survey

About 49 per cent women from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) said they do not feel they have equal opportunities for career growth as the men in their organisations, a survey said.

The first ever pan-IIM survey on ‘Women in the Workplace’ was conducted by ‘The star in me’ — a global career advancement platform for women, in collaboration with IIM Kozhikode Alumni Association.

‘Women in the Workplace’ survey:

The survey was done online among 400 alumni and current students from 20 IIMs across the country. Around 49 per cent of the respondents said they do not have equal opportunities for career growth as the men in their organisations.

More than 65 per cent of the respondents said women representation in their organisations’ top leadership tier is insignificant and they need more role models to look up to.

Over 60 per cent said their organisations provide a flexible work environment and invest in up skilling. However, only 45 per cent said they have initiatives for mentoring and sponsorship, it added.

Gender gap in the workforce:

“There is a significant gender gap in the workforce and the gap tends to get amplified at leadership levels. The survey results demonstrate that even though progress has been made in enhancing gender diversity, organisations need a renewed focus on eliminating unconscious bias, strengthening mentoring and sponsorship initiatives and create a level playing field for women,” the star in me Co-Founder Uma Kasoji said.

Challenges faced by women at workplace:

Asked about the challenges they faced at work, the respondents cited the lack of mentorship, lack of strong professional networks, gender discrimination and unconscious bias as the key concerns.

Interestingly, while women agree that strong professional networks are essential for success, 71 per cent said they take a passive approach towards building a network.

Further, the survey revealed that the top few diversity initiatives that respondents placed value on were flexibility in the workplace, organisational budgets for upskilling, second career options for women and extended maternity and paternity leave.

One-third of the respondents took time to share suggestions on how organisations can help women scale their careers and the key recommendations included flexibility at work, leadership commitment to diversity, offering a level playing field to women, sensitising male colleagues, formal mentoring, sponsorship and networking initiatives and smoothing re-entry for women post a career break, it added.

Source: India Today

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