62% of India employers intend to hire more women in STEM in FY24, says report

As India contributes nearly 31.7% of the world’s total STEM graduates, the Indian women workforce is gearing up for ambitious career opportunities, according to a study titled ‘Bridging the Skills Gap – Towards an Equal Workplace’, by NTT DATA and NLB Services.

Nearly 57% of women enrolled in STEM courses are confident of securing a relevant job after completing a course as they are enrolling primarily for acquiring additional skills demanded by today’s jobs (55%) and for gaining technical knowledge (42%). Interestingly, 62% or majority of employers surveyed intend to hire more women enrolled in STEM courses in 2023-24 as compared to the previous year.

According to industry estimates, globally, India ranks second in terms of the number of female online learners. It also indicates that the proportion of women enrolling in online STEM courses in India rose to 32% in 2021 from 22% in 2019. 54% of the employers surveyed believe that STEM education will significantly reduce the skill gap, while 61% of employers think fresh STEM graduates are ready for industry work.

Retail/E-commerce, Healthcare and Pharma, and Information Technology or IT-Enabled Services are the sectors where growth in the hiring of STEM-qualified women is likely during FY 2023-24. Furthermore, 58% of employers think that gender diversity can lead to higher revenue growth and the acquisition of top talent. Notably, nearly 31% of employers plan to initiate programs to attract women returning to the workplace, boosting gender diversity.

“The domain of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has long been suffering from a massive gender disparity. With women representing just about a quarter of the STEM workforce globally, it is time we set out to answer the burning questions pertaining to this divide. From finding the root causes behind this gap to taking proactive steps and remedying the situation, the list of action items is long but surely not unachievable,” said Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services.

“As a leader in digital business and IT services, we strongly believe that promoting gender diversity is not only a social responsibility but also a crucial business imperative, as it plays a significant role in fostering innovation and driving revenue growth. We are encouraged by the findings of this survey, which demonstrate that a majority of employers or 58% recognise the positive impact of gender diversity in the workplace,” said Terri Hatcher, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at NTT DATA.

A majority or 66% of women in STEM surveyed acknowledge the importance of upskilling/reskilling in the current job market. Women in STEM identified the lack of pay parity (57%), inflexible work schedules (44%), and inadequate childcare benefits (36%) as the top gender gaps in their employment.