IBM addresses gender disparity

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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KOLKOTA: In an attempt to correct the lopsided gender-ratio in its ranks, IT major IBM has put in order `some kind of a push’ to recruit more female candidates. And it’s aim of having 30 percent women in its workforce in India by 2010 seems well on its way as the company has recruited as many as 100 lady graduates from engineering campuses in West Bengal this year out of 139 selected.

IBM now has 21 percent women employees in the eastern region and 24 percent at the national level, a newspaper reported.

“We have taken a strong stand on this issue. Our target is to reach a 50:50 male-female ratio as we grow. We receive enough applications from women but for some reason not many are getting through," said a senior IBM human resource official. Fuelling the correction of the gender ration is a relaxation of entry norms for women aspirants. A fresh woman graduate now needs just 70 percent to qualify for the IBM recruitment test, while for men, the cut-off is 75. Women also have the option of choosing their job location and are promised that they won't be transferred against their wishes, the Times of India said.

IBM’s present move is also a result of its studies that have shown that women applicants seldom decline offers, have a lower attrition rate and often perform better than their male counterparts. Even though there is no such policy for lateral recruitment, the company is planning to have more "women at the top" as well. The current recruitment will help the company in a way that the entry-level-candidates can be groomed for senior positions.

To bring more women into its fold, IBM will start visiting girls' colleges to tell them about the company. “They will be informed about the advantages of working for IBM and the special care that we take to ensure their career growth.” Since women find it difficult to slip into an IT job because of erratic schedules and tough working conditions, in some cases they are even being given the choice of working from home, the paper added.

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