50% of country’s tech workforce will be women sooner than later: Harish Mehta

‘By 2030, corporate India will see an equal number of women leaders as there are men’

‘By 2030, corporate India will see an equal number of women leaders as there are men’


Gender diversity in Indian IT got better over the years and 50% of the country’s tech workforce would be women sooner than later, said Harish Mehta, one of the founding members and the first elected chairman of Nasscom.

A lot has happened on the gender diversity front in the last couple of decades, Mr. Mehta told The Hindu. For instance, women had only a single-digit representation in the country’s tech talent pool in the 80s and today they already constitute 37% of the entire workforce in software and services sectors.

“Interestingly, today, about 50% of new recruits are women. I see us achieving 50% women in the workforce sooner than later. There is a concerted effort to leapfrog diversity. But again, women are being recruited not because they are women, instead, they are increasingly landing jobs on a merit basis,” Mr. Mehta noted.

Responding to a query on the glass ceiling for women in leadership, he said, “It is changing.”

“Look at the number of Indians in general and Indian women, in particular, occupying the corner offices of leading U.S. companies today, and compare it to what it was a decade back,” he quipped.

“Frankly, I don’t need to look into a crystal ball to make this prediction. But I can say that by 2030, corporate India will see an equal number of women leaders as there are men,” said Mr. Mehta, who is also the author of The Maverick Effect, a book that narrates how fierce competitors got together and buried their differences to work towards the common goal of growing the sector and changing the perception of India across the world.

“It took close to a quarter century for the tech sector in the country to gain confidence, see huge growth and go beyond the first $100 billion revenues,” Mr. Mehta said.

When Nasscom was set up in 1988, the size of the total global tech outsourcing pie was $300 billion and of which India’s accessible share was only some $5 billion. But to be honest, at that point in time, the apex body could not imagine the market would expand the way it did today and the business volumes would pick up dramatically, he said, candidly.

“We crossed the first billion revenues around 1996 and then $50 billion came in 2007 and then one could see $100 billion and beyond was definitely achievable. In 2012, India’s software and services business crossed the $100 billion mark,” he recalled. Interestingly, the industry raked in the next $100 billion in eight years.

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