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Tech careers were not promoted much at schools or colleges: young professionals in Wiley Edge survey

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A lack of awareness about tech careers may be a primary reason for the shortage of candidates in India’s tech industry says Wiley Edge’s first-ever India survey report.  Wiley’s global talent development solution, Wiley Edge recently conducted a comprehensive survey targeting 200 senior IT decision-makers and approximately 1,000 young professionals aged 21 to 25, working in Indian tech enterprises and found that 46% of young professionals report that tech careers were not promoted much to them, with that figure rising to 50% for women.

In the same report 52% didn’t receive the push even during college. 8% of young professionals said they never received sufficient information about tech careers, including 10% of women, and they instead relied on independent research about careers.

The other highlights of the report are:

Motivations Behind Joining the Tech Industry

When asked about their motivations for entering the tech sector, despite limited education and encouragement in school or college, 39% of respondents said their independent research on various industries led them to believe that tech provided the greatest opportunities. Additionally, 35% were inspired by prominent figures or media, 23% received encouragement from friends, 23% possessed a natural affinity for science and mathematics, and 21% were influenced by their parents.

Promoting Careers in Tech: Opportunities & Challenges

The survey reveals mixed sentiments among young talent in the tech sector. 30% of Gen Zs viewed tech careers as futureproof. Concerns arise with 36% perceiving the industry as male-dominated, 20% feeling unwelcome, and 20% lacking awareness of job opportunities (22% among women). Overall, 45% of respondents reported positive experiences in the tech industry, with 30% describing them as mostly positive. However, women highlighted specific challenges they encounter.

Among women surveyed, 25% felt uncomfortable in their current roles, and 34% expressed a desire to leave their roles because they felt unwelcome or uncomfortable. These challenges were attributed to factors such as organizational culture/leadership (30%), lack of support/resources (33%), lack of appreciation/rewards (33%), lack of growth opportunities (40%), and unequal treatment/gender pay gaps (30%). Additionally, 32% of women said they faced discrimination in the tech recruitment market.

The Recruitment Struggle: Difficulty Attracting Women at All Levels

Within the tech industry, businesses face an ongoing battle to recruit women for various roles. A staggering 45% of companies encountered difficulties in attracting women for entry-level tech positions, 28% for mid-level roles, and 20% for senior-level openings. For a notable 13% of organizations, the struggle spans across all levels, while 20% of businesses found the process of recruiting women for tech roles easy.

 Awareness versus Action: A Disconnect in Addressing Gender Diversity

While many businesses acknowledged the pressing issue of gender diversity, awareness does not always translate into effective action. A substantial 69% of surveyed companies actively recognized and attempted to address the lack of gender diversity within their organizations. However, 8% are aware of the problem but grapple with knowing how to approach it. 3% have come to accept the lack of diversity as a normal occurrence in the tech field.

Additionally, 37% of businesses admitted to having a gender pay gap problem. 74% of businesses that admitted to having a gender pay gap problem are struggling to close it. Moreover, 54% of companies found it challenging to retain female tech talent.  More than one in 10 businesses lack a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy.

 Supporting Women in Tech: Steps Towards Inclusivity

Despite the prevailing challenges, businesses are taking steps to support and empower women in the tech industry. An impressive 81% of companies offer mentorship programs tailored to women employees, providing invaluable guidance for their professional and personal development. Furthermore, 63% of organizations prioritized internal development, aiming to cultivate women leaders from within their ranks. In fact, only 16% reported hiring women from outside the company for senior-level openings. In recognition of the needs of women in the workforce, 70% of businesses have updated their benefits packages, while 39% have implemented flexible working policies to attract and retain more women.

 

Expanding the Talent Pipeline: The Key to Diversity Improvement

To enhance gender diversity, businesses must widen their junior talent pipeline. However, despite the lack of diversity at top universities, 85 of companies exclusively hire graduates from these institutions. Additionally, 28% of organizations display a preference for graduates from prestigious universities.

Diversifying the Hiring Process: A Path to Attracting and Nurturing Diverse Talent

The findings reveal that while progress has been made to diversify tech workforces, there is still room for improvement. The implementation of anti-bias hiring practices has yielded positive results, with 98% of businesses noticing an improvement, and an impressive 73% experiencing a significant positive impact. However, 48% of companies lack gender equity targets, 57% do not utilize neutral job descriptions, and 75% fail to request gender-diverse shortlists from recruiters or adopt blind CV reviews. Furthermore, almost one in 10 businesses lack a system to identify and support diverse graduates who may require additional assistance.

Conclusion

Bridging the education gap and promoting diversity are key to unlocking potential in the tech industry. Wiley Edge’s latest Diversity in Tech report in India emphasizes the need for greater awareness and encouragement, especially for young women professionals. While businesses recognize gender diversity’s importance, translating awareness into action remains a hurdle. To achieve true equality, organizations must widen the talent pipeline and diversify the hiring process.

Commenting on Wiley Edge’s first-ever India survey report,  Archana Jayaraj, Director, Partnerships & Talent APAC, and Head of Wiley Edge Operations in India, said, “Our survey findings have provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities within India’s tech talent landscape. The results emphasize the critical importance of bridging skills and diversity gaps within organizations to create inclusive workspaces. Particularly, there is a pressing need to encourage and engage entry-level talent, especially women, not only to consider but also to thrive in tech careers.”

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