Gender bias: a major cause of attrition in STEM jobs

Gender bias: a major cause  of attrition in STEM jobs

Gender bias and hostile work culture make women feel stalled and hasten their decisions to quit sooner than their male counterparts in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs, globally.

This feeling is equally prevalent in India, where 81% of women perceive a gender bias in performance evaluation.

The latest Kelly Global Workforce Insights (KGWI) survey on Women in STEM, found that women in India tend to drop out of the workforce at key phases in their lives, most notably around childbearing years and later at mid-management levels. The most significant driver is the ‘double burden syndrome’ of women struggling to balance work and family in a culture where both men and women feel the family and household duties are primarily the woman’s responsibility.

While women represent 46% of all enrolled undergraduate students in STEM, not many continue to pursue careers. “Around 41% of women in technology companies leave after 10 years of experience, compared with 17% of men,” Kamal Karanth, Managing Director, Kelly Services and Kelly OCG India said.

Consequently, there are few women left to fill roles at the top, KGWI survey says. This glaring disparity is clearly visible in publicly traded companies. As early as 2015, 12% of the companies had failed to fulfil the mandate of having at least one woman representative on their board. Of the 50 companies in the NIFTY index, only five had two female directors. About 53% met this directive by appointing directors that were either wives or sisters of executives and not really independent members.

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