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Can Women in IT sector in India embrace the emerging technology trends and rise?

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For the purposes of this blog we have analyzed the NASSCOM Women in IT survey and the Accenture tech trends 2021 to provide a possible convergence of how women can capitalize on the emerging opportunities in technology space.

Rise of Women in Indian IT Sector

If there is one industry that is breaking common global perceptions about employment of women – it is the Indian IT-BPM industry. A study undertaken by NASSCOM and The Open University UK in 2017, states that women employed in the Indian IT industry has risen steadily over the past 10 years – nearly 30% of employees in the surveyed IT-BPM companies are women- much better than the west where it is found by a survey that women only make up 25% of the computing roles in the US. There is a stagnation witnessed in UK and decline seen in the US!

A lot of work has happened in the past decade by corporates and industry bodies like NASSCOM in addition to Government initiatives to provide a safe workplace for women (Anti-harassment policies, Maternity benefits, flexible working hours, physical security to name a few) which has provided the necessary fillip to encourage more women to join the workforce and stay in the workforce to a reasonable extent. Programs specifically focused to get women on a career break back to the workforce promoted by quite a few Indian IT organizations has aided in getting back women who had to prioritize family and childcare.

Though this gives us much reason to celebrate, we still have a lot of work to do :

  • Most of the women in the IT industry are at individual contributor or beginner levels and the numbers significantly dips to 25% in managerial positions and less than 1%  as we move to the c-levels
  • Though men and women enter the workforce at the same age, men advance to senior positions much earlier – average age of a woman to reach a executive position is higher than men
  • Men and women at senior positions are equally qualified and often have MBAs and other management degrees
  • Somewhere along the line, women get stagnated or drop off from the race due to various reasons.

Emerging technology trends

The pandemic in the past year has triggered a major re-think in the way organizations conducted their business. It has catapulted digital transformation and cloud adoption to the forefront of many organizations including legacy businesses. Now every business is a technology business. 

The Accenture technology vision 2021, outlines the key technology trends that will shape the future. It is very crucial to observe these tech trends in the context of the changing global landscape.

Architecting a better future: how technology architecture becomes a competing point across organizations as they begin to define the future

The power of massive, intelligent digital twins: This provides an opportunity to bring data and intelligence together to solve complex business issues

Democratization of technology: Simplification of technology and placing it in the hands of business users to empower them to create tech solutions on their own

Bring your own environment: A major workplace revolution which questioned our basic beliefs in workplaces and how people will work in the future – from BYOD to BYOE

From Me to We: Enterprises have begun to realize they are stronger together

What do these trends mean to us and how can we leverage ?

As women, understanding these tech trends and preparing ourselves when these trends play out in future will determine our continued importance as part of the technical workforce.

  • It is important for women to pay attention to technology architecture and seek opportunities or engage in conversations that help define it to move to the next levels. We traditionally see more women in Business Analysts and Project manager roles but fewer in architecture positions.
  • There is a slow but increasing presence of women technologists in the field of data and analytics. Excelling in digital twin ecosystems require a good understanding of data, AI, and digital twin technologies. Women in Data science groups are coming up and lot of work is happening in this space to encourage women data scientists
  • As companies are increasingly beginning to adopt digitalization, there is a huge demand for technical capabilities. There is so much work to be done and only so much budget for the IT teams. Placing technology in the hands of the employees seem like a logical step to innovate for the business (Think powerBI, power automate etc). Upskilling using the widely available options to cross skill/ upskill oneself will help position women ahead of the competition
  • Post the pandemic, most employers are planning a rethink of the new age work environment. The environment need not essentially be the home of the employee but anywhere they can find connectivity and a quiet place to work. This will be a blessing for women who have long been advocating for flexible work hours / places to enable them to balance work and home seamlessly. Virtual environments can also be an opportunity for building networks, where we need not travel to meet people as many networking events happen online.
  • Women are wired for collaboration and nurturing environment and so it aligns with the concept of building a cohesive ecosystem to grow together both within organizations and across organizations.  Harnessing the power of networking and help being the supportive voice for fellow women in the team will go a long way in nurturing a cohesive culture

The future looks promising, the work environment is changing. As businesses across the world gear up for transformation, there are immense opportunities created in the technology space. India with its robust IT ecosystem of service providers, GCCs and technology startups can be a pioneer in reversing gender inequalities in the field of technology.

It is also up to us, women to upskill ourselves and rise to the challenge!