Women participation on upskilling platforms microscopic

Gender divisions | Women participation on upskilling platforms microscopic

To address this issue and encourage more women to upskill themselves, Scaler has also recently launched a unique career accelerator initiative called 'Scaler Include'

Representative image/Credit: iStock images

Many upskilling platforms have prospered during the pandemic period, as the work from home (WFH) model helped people with the flexibility to opt for upskilling courses and the career anxiety created by escalated layoffs and furloughs during the period made it an indispensable idea.

While all professionals, young and old, male and female moved to upskilling platforms to meet the evolved needs of employers, there still remains a huge gender gap, with only a few women as compared to men, joining these courses. 

A report by the Centre for Talent Innovation says that almost 91% of women want to come back to work but around 40 to 45% are unable to find suitable opportunities. A recent survey by JobsforHer, a job portal for women reiterates that outdated skills were one of the biggest deterrents for women trying to return to work. In fact, about 34% of women cited reskilling as a necessity for their career restart, progression, and job role changes. Another 36% said that they were looking at technical skills for reskilling/ upskilling. The survey also finds that 61% of women professionals find better career opportunities after getting reskilled after a career break.

It still has been difficult to get women to join these courses. On Scaler Academy, an upskilling platform, the male to female ratio was 90:10 in March 2020, which now, in February 2021 stands at 80:20.

Abhimanyu Saxena, Co-founder, Scaler and InterviewBit says the ratio on the platform is encouraging but needs improvement.

“Technological disruptions have altered the world of work, and upskilling is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. The same holds for women, as upskilling will help accelerate their careers and bring more women into the workforce, who would have given up jobs at various stages of their life. However, it has been a challenge across platforms to attract and encourage more women to upskill and reskill themselves,” says Saxena.

Upskilling platform UpGrad has witnessed a 12% increase in women’s enrolment numbers as compared to men before and after the arrival of Covid-19, according to Co-founder Phalgun Kompalli. While the women enrolments accounted for 1/3rd of male enrolments in the pre-Covid phase, this ratio has now shifted to become 2/5th in the post-Covid phase in Q2.

While upskilling has now become a sure-shot route to grab a job, the fact that not many women are taking part, for reasons of accessibility, awareness or resources, is serious to the issue of bridging the gender divide at work.  

In October 2018, VMware, a software company announced a new initiative designed to address the increasing gender gap in the technology sector. VMinclusion Taara, an up-skilling and return-to-work programme, aims to support women who want to get back to the workforce.

The programme has received close to 9,500 registrations since going live in January 2019. Over 5,000 women have registered during the pandemic in 2020. 

Under this programme are certifications on the latest IT solutions in Datacenter, Networking, Cloud and Cloud Management technologies.

Supriya Menon, Director, Education, VMware India says, “A potent mix of years of social conditioning and bias has traditionally kept women out of the workforce, while the ones who stayed have had to deal with significant bias. This might also be an indication as to why women are under-represented in STEM and don’t make it back post a career break.”

“However, while there has been a significant rise in the number of women joining the STEM curriculum, there is a huge leakage of talent post joining work. In our experience, it is evident that they are looking for opportunities but factors like lack of resources, family support, career guidance, and a supportive ecosystem can drastically affect the numbers.”

To address this issue and encourage more women to upskill themselves, Scaler has also recently launched a unique career accelerator initiative called “Scaler Include”.

“Under this initiative, in collaboration with organisations, we identify & train a diverse talent - women and LGBTQ community members who are passionate about technology and help them establish their career in tech roles,” says Saxena.

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