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The only way to get women back in the office – don’t try

Workplace flexibility may be the top priority for female employees in the post-pandemic world. Seven in 10 working women who took part in a recent survey said they were willing to leave their current job for a flex job in case their employer removed the remote work option.

More than 90% of participants said they wanted to work in hybrid mode (a mixture of working in the office and from home) or do work from home, according to the survey conducted by recruitment and staffing services company CIEL HR Services that covered approximately 700 women who had joined the workforce during the pandemic and worked remotely.

Most respondents are even willing to work at a lower salary for a flexible job, according to survey results shared exclusively with ET.

Respondents are drawn from approximately 600 medium to large companies spanning across areas such as Information Technology (IT), IT Services, Education, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, and Recruitment and staffing.

“Given the survey results, we can estimate that organizations in these sectors will see over 60% of their female workforce leave if they force a return to work,” said Aditya Mishra, Managing Director of CIEL HR Services. .

According to the survey, only 8% of women surveyed said they wanted to go to the office daily. “These are women who are mothers with children who can take care of themselves or mothers with very good family support,” Mishra said.

Several companies, including IT services firms Mphasis, Capgemini and Tech Mahindra, have hired more women during the Covid-19 pandemic, with most of them in flex shifts.

Wanted WFH even before Covid

“Women were calling for remote work even before the pandemic,” said Dnyan Shah, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Mphasis. “Childcare and other household chores have always been difficult, but they have been even more so during the pandemic.”

She said the pandemic has helped employers realize that “remote working can be just as effective as being in the office.” “This (work from home) policy has also encouraged more women to return to work after taking time off for various reasons, including care work,” Shah said.

Mphasis said it hired around 9,000 women in the last two years of the pandemic. It has a total of approximately 360,000 employees, 35% of whom are women. The French consulting and IT services company Capgemini also has almost a third of women in its workforce in India. During the pandemic, 95% of its workforce was working from home.

“As telecommuting becomes the new normal for many industries, we will definitely see an increase in women joining and joining the workforce due to flexibility,” said Radhika Ramesh, Executive Vice President and Head of Center global delivery provider for CIS (cloud infrastructure services). India at Capgemini.

It could also result in more women in leadership positions due to greater flexibility in the workplace, she said.

In India, Capgemini has recruited more than 42,000 women over the past two years.

Tech Mahindra has also hired more women during the pandemic in remote work/hybrid work roles. “Flexible working hours have been specifically designed to facilitate the seamless integration of work and personal life for associates, especially women,” said Harshvendra Soin, Global Human Resources Director and Head of Marketing at Tech Mahindra. “The hybrid way of working gave them flexibility…it led to a significant increase in our gender diversity ratios.”

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