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India Inc. has more women in leadership roles, accelerates DEI efforts: 2021 BCWI report

Monday October 25, 2021, By Diversity Digest

Women in leadership and diversity rigor see an upward trend, as per the 2021 BCWI-MICI report by Avtar.

Avtar in association with Working Mother (now Seramount) recently announced the results of the 2021 edition of the Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) and the Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI).  

The study, which has over 300 companies across sectors participating (a mix of MNCs and India-based companies), shows that women in leadership have seen an upward trend in the IT/ITES, FMCG, and Manufacturing Industries at 18%, 19%, and 9% respectively. However, the BFSI and Pharma sectors have registered a dip in women in leadership – BFSI dips from 18% to 15% and Pharma from 22% to 18%, between 2020 and 2021. Women at the corporate executive level have moved up to 15%, managerial level to 25% in 2021.

Key findings of BCWI

  • 88% of companies offer Executive coaching programs in the 2021 BCWI-MICI study as compared to 81% in 2020
  • 100% in the 2021 BCWI-MICI study provide professional development programs, up from 98% in 2020
  • 75% of the 2021 100 Best Companies advocate and promote a culture of male allyship, up from 73% in 2020
  • Maternity retention rate amongst women employees have also been steadily increasing in the 100 Best companies – which is at 96% in 2021 from 91% in 2020.

Increasing commitment to diversity;

  • 100% of companies on the MICI index train their hiring managers to be culturally sensitive and competent. This is up from 97% in2020
  • 90% of companies on the index require their interview panels to be diverse.
  • In 95% of companies on the index, managers are held accountable for DEI during the performance review process (up from 89% in 2020)
  • 95% of companies on the index have a structured DEI council to drive their DEI agenda. Having a structured body such as a DEI council enables greater traction and focus around DEI and makes the pursuit of inclusion more purposeful.
  • 98% of companies also ensure that their job descriptions and advertisements are inclusive by nature and in their messaging
  • 85% of companies on MICI have LGBTQ networks for their employees
  • 95% of companies on MICI conduct an infrastructural audit of offices and facilities to ensure inclusion, specifically of PwD employees — All Champions and 93% Exemplars have such initiatives

Talking about the report, Avtar Founder and President, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, said, “This year’s study results indicate that companies are consciously evolving in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion maturity. This is primarily based on three factors, viz., their leadership intent, the industry they belong to, and the history of their DEI journey thus far. It is noteworthy that the disruptions of 2020, have further accelerated the pace of DEI progress in the Best Companies, with 73% of them having reported an increase in their DEI spend. One such key indicator is the large number of companies which have institutionalized practices to boost representation of women and other underrepresented groups in senior leadership and executive positions.”

She further added, “Companies are increasingly building a cascade effect of DEI Accountability. As per the data from the 2021 Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), 95% of companies have built their KPIs/KRAs on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for their people managers across levels.”

Subha V. Barry, President of Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media), added that it was heartening to see the DEI intent grow among companies.

“The 2021 BCWI-MICI results highlight that the leaders at our 100 Best Companies are conscious about the progress made on the DEI front and are now navigating a path to balance workplace complexities in a post-pandemic world. Inclusive leadership, combined with a diverse workforce fosters a culture of innovation, better problem-solving, enhancing the sustainability and agility of organizations. We are extremely proud to see the DEI intent grow among the Champions and Exemplars at MICI cutting across industries in India,” she said.

What are BCWI and MICI?

The yearly gender analytics exercise in its sixth edition rates companies in two separate categories—BCWI top 10 and BCWI top 100 (which includes the top 10). The study collects granular data through a set of 300 questions spanning different aspects of gender diversity policies and practices.  In its third edition, MICI, which assesses inclusion across diversity dimensions, has two separate categories — Champions of Inclusion Award those with a score above 70 %, and Exemplars of Inclusion for those with a score over 55% and below 70%.

Top 10 2021 BCWI Companies (in alphabetical order)

  • Accenture Solutions Pvt Ltd
  • Citi India
  • Deloitte in India
  • Deutsche Bank Group
  • EY
  • Genpact India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Infosys Limited
  • Mastercard Incorporated
  • ZS Associates India Pvt. Ltd

Champions of Inclusion-MICI (in alphabetical order)

  • Accenture Solutions Private Ltd.
  • Citi India
  • Cushman & Wakefield India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Deloitte in India
  • EY
  • IBM India Pvt Ltd
  • Mastercard Incorporated
  • Pegasystems Worldwide India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Target Corporation India Pvt Ltd
  • Tech Mahindra

The winners will be felicitated in the ‘Best Practices of the 100 Best’ Virtual Conference hosted by Avtar on a customized digital platform on 18th – 19th November 2021.


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