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Women in India's technology sector aim high, but earn less: Study

As many as 57% of men relocated to work abroad for three or more years compared to just 18% of women

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

High-potential in India’s thriving sector begin their careers as equals with men, but then are victims of gender gap, according to a new report. is a global non-profit organisation expanding opportunities for and business.

The report mentioned that have similar aspirations as men, to the highest levels including that of CEO.

"Despite this very promising start, a gender gap soon results in women earning less and receiving fewer opportunities that lead to advancement, conditions that contribute to fewer women in critical senior-level positions and a pay gap between women and that expands over time," said the report.

Catalyst's report, Under High Pressure in India’s Sector, studied India’s sector and is part of the organisation's study of graduates from top business schools around the world.

While the overall global study shows that women MBAs start at lower positions and lower pay (US$4600 less on average) than their male counterparts, India Inc.’s high-potential women and in technology start out on an equal footing when comes to job level and pay. However, 12 years into their careers, women lag behind by approximately Rs 3.8 lakh or US$6000 in terms of pay.

suggested that women earn less, receive fewer developmental opportunities that lead to advancement, and bear more responsibility at home compared to men. These leads to a lack of female talent in critical senior level positions in India’s technology sector.

“In India’s growing economy, with high job mobility and the corresponding high demand for talent, organisations must do everything they can to attract and retain women—who, the study shows, are amongst their most committed employees,” said Shachi Irde, Executive Director, India WRC.

Irde added that ensuring pay equity, equal access to developmental opportunities, and flexible and inclusive environments for women is critical for retaining talent in India’s technology sector.

Key findings of the Catalyst report:

-Almost four-fifths (79%) of young high-potential men and women alike, at the start of their careers, aspire to senior executive positions, including that of CEO.

-While almost three-quarters of the with young children (74%) aspired to senior executive/CEO levels, a significantly higher proportion (88%) of with older or no children aspired to the top.

-About 42% of women with young children aspired to the top, showing that the aspiration gap is not a simple gender gap, but is more complex and driven by gender role norms.

-Men change more often: At the time of the survey, just 21% of the men were still at the same company where they had started their careers, compared to 36% of the women. The main reason that high-potential women and men left their first job was to get ahead in their career (64%) or for higher compensation (50%).

Women receive fewer on-the-job experiences that matter for pay/advancement such as mission-critical “line” and long-duration international relocations. For example, as many as 57% of men relocated to work abroad for three or more years compared to just 18% of women.

-Of women with older children,80% said that they would be “happy to spend the rest of my career with this company,” while only 41% of the men said so.

-Women in general are more dissatisfied with pay and salary growth over their careers. Compared to 42% of men, 52% of women were “very” or “somewhat” dissatisfied with their compensation.

-In addition, 44% of women were “very” or “somewhat” dissatisfied with their salary progress compared to 35% of men.

First Published: Thu, January 16 2014. 14:33 IST