No parity yet in pay, status for women

8 Mar 2022 1:00 AM IST
Today, the volatility and uncertainty in trends of hiring and retention in the industry is the biggest talk and concern in organisations
Today, the volatility and uncertainty in trends of hiring and retention in the industry is the biggest talk and concern in organisations. MNCs have reached tier-2 and tier-3 cities to fill the gap at functional levels to avoid any ill-effects of the pandemic on their businesses.

Of late, such disruptions have led to innovations in the industry, yet the question of economic recovery – of young and developing economies like India – remains unanswered, where the GDP calculation is either based on factor cost based on different industries or on expenditure method determining variables like exports, consumption, and investment. Its yearly calculation instead of quarterly is also misleading in many aspects. Imagine, if the market Sensex is not analysed daily but only half-yearly, then how can the predictions be right for decision-making?

Despite many arguments and analyses, the trajectory of the Indian economy reflects many variables varying from the situation. Consequently, the trends and challenges of Indian industries are also varied from the West primarily because of population, inflation rate, and even per capita income. Consequently, the implementation of any models reflected by MNCs in India emerging from the West also come with varied nuances.

Negative Trends in Indian industry

A few days back, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a statement on woman's reluctance to join positions on company boards. Even though the data says many women are at top-level positions, this statement of reluctance to join gives a reflection of being not treated at par and inequality to their presence.

Most of the surveys by consulting companies are based on the determinants and variables of West. To make it aligned for India for its benefit, it is yet important to understand the Indian industry and ecosystem. Else, it ends up creating some negative trends and a matter of concern, showing an adverse impact on the economic development of India in real terms.

The concept of DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) which has emerged from the West has been applied in India in a similar context. The diversity within the gender has been focused in MNCs to create equality in the metrics of a task force in India. Looking at the gender ratio in India, the percentage of females is 48.04 per cent compared to 51.96 per cent male population. The ratio of males to females is expected to decline by 2092 and as per the reports of Guardian, India is achieving equality in this ratio. So, when there is a shift, do we still consider women as a major aspect of diversity in MNCs?

Indian economy is a young economy and going through the economic recovery. Is it fair to continue with this discrimination in MNCs and consider women as diverse and not hire them with their true potential? This model of diversity from the West instead of just being copied and pasted needs an evaluation with a mindset shift of giving them cerebral equality and not creating reservations or quotas in MNCs.

It's high time for a shift

The corporates in India need to give a boost to the economic recovery and also should be ready to invest and create equal pay for a woman in the name of diversity and equality. Negative trends based on assumptions of women coming from the break and placing them at a much lower pedestal with inequality in pay is a hazard for economic health and we in India cannot afford this. Not only this, but MNCs in India also need to reform their models of medical insurance for woman. Paradoxically, in the mid-age when women are hired at a much lower salary and grade, if they are truly considered as diverse then the responsibility is to follow the norm of diversity in full spirit by reforming their medical insurance and increasing their slab from other employees.

Western countries are considering other models to implement such as working for four days a week to create wellness within their employees. Even though we are yet to listen and see this trend in India, are corporates in India ready to shift to this business model? MNCs see India as the top choice because of cheap labour, policy reforms, and political stability. So, will MNCs in India be implementing similar models in a similar way?

Another model of the notice period in the West is not even 15 days in many MNCs, yet in India, the same company follows a different notice period of even sometimes to three months. This does raise an alarm to many negative trends which have contributed to the rate our economy needs to grow.

Despite apparent progress, there is a need to relook at these negative trends followed by MNCs in the Indian context to give a boost to the country's economic development and make high efforts to label India as a developed country and no more as a developing one.

(Writer is an industry expert, executive coach, speaker, IIM-L alumnus, and an ex-Army Officer)