"Gender diversity is essential, and not having it can be detrimental to business. A diverse workforce ensures that we have different mindsets dealing with challenges in different ways, and this helps us strategise better," Tata Steel Chief Diversity Officer and Chief Group HR Atrayee S Sanyal told PTI here.
She said Tata Steel has a target to have 20 per cent women in its workforce by 2020, from the current level of 11 per cent.
"We are definitely planning to employ a large number of women in the coming years. Tata Steel, as an equal opportunity employer, believes that women can perform any role with equal competence as that of a man.
"We have not restricted ourselves to defining certain roles or levels where we will employ women. Our diversity targets have been taken for the overall organisation and we are open to employing women across all roles and levels," she added.
When asked about the difficulty in finding women with the required skills in manufacturing, mining and engineering, she said the availability of women is gradually improving.
"It is supply-led demand to a great extent. Engineering institutes need to have more women and only then companies can recruit women in these areas. We engage early with various leading institutes that helps us capture the best women talent in the early years of engineering," she added.
Further, she said, there is a need to devise policy interventions to offset the challenges which come with more women going for extended maternity.
"Our recent Take 2 policy aims at filling these gaps due to maternity and child care leaves by hiring women who are experienced professionals on project basis for short-term engagement.
"This is a mutual benefit as we have a good replacement resource for a woman and it also becomes a platform for those women looking to resume their careers," she added.
She said when diversity is recognised and employees feel included, they have a better responsiveness to changing customer needs.
Everything, cumulatively, helps us progress and develop as a company, she added.
"Workplace diversity attracts the best talent and retains the same. It builds a great reputation for the company. A mix of people with diverse views encourages innovation and problem solutions, thereby leading to increased profitability and opportunities for business, she said.
However, for this purpose the company will not compromise on merit at any stage of selection or promotion.
"Our recruitment sensitisation handbook clearly mentions that at an equal level of merit and competence, we would prefer a female candidate but we consider merit as the ultimate criterion for selection," she added.