MUMBAI: Gender diversity in workplaces is a much talked-about topic in the current corporate world. Even so, telecom has traditionally been male-dominated mostly because it involved rural travel, dealing with angry customers. Also because finance and technology orientation seen as unsuitable for women.
Vodafone India, however, has made an effort to have a balanced gender ratio, actively hiring women especially at mid- to senior-levels, recognizing pressure on available talent and a need to tap the market in new ways. There is a perceptible increase in sales efficiency since women have come on board, said Ashok Ramachandran, Vodafone's head of human resources, without quantifying it.
"But let's be honest; merit is at the base of it all."
India's second largest mobile phone company has actively sought a balance in women candidates to interview for a job, and has made headway in getting mid-level women in.
Take, for example, zonal heads. Until seven months ago, there was only one woman zonal head out of a 100 spread across 23 service areas that cover India. Today, there are 13, and the number is expected to rise to 20 by year-end.
"A role that involves managing profit and loss; interacting with clients; dealing with staff, required someone extroverted; something people assumed women would have a problem with," said Maullika Chandramouli, zonal head of Ahmedabad, and the first woman within Vodafone India to be at the post.
Her role is made up of nine-hour work days, and may involve sitting late at times. However, Vodafone has a "reach home safely" policy under which if a woman gets late at work she is dropped home.
"Where managing is different for us (women) is that we don't, for example, go out for a drink in the evening," said Nidhi Lauria, sales and marketing head of Delhi.
India's other top mobile phone companies, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular did not wish to participate in this story, while an e-mail to Reliance Communications went unanswered. Officials at the former two said they struck a conscious balance in hiring new talent but during the course of the career, there was no special incentive or tracking mechanism for women performers or their special needs.
Source: Times of India