Even as Indian women face low representation in leadership roles in the workforce (18 per cent), they are now seeking more entrepreneurship opportunities as compared to men, according to new LinkedIn data released on Wednesday.
The data, published in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, showed that the share of female founders grew by 2.68 times compared to 1.79 times among men between 2016 to 2021. The growth rate of female entrepreneurship showed to be the highest during the pandemic — in 2020 and 2021.
Besides being underrepresented in leadership roles, the data also revealed that women are also not being promoted internally to leadership in companies at the same rate as men. Men are 42 per cent more likely to be promoted into leadership positions than women.
This could explain why women in leadership roles also increasingly lag behind their male counterparts in the senior stages of their careers, with the proportion of women in the workforce decreasing along the corporate ladder.
In India, the representation of female leaders has dropped from 29 per cent at the senior level to a staggering 18 per cent at the managerial level.
“Our new data is indicative of one thing: working women in India are being held back by more barriers in the workplace when compared to men. But despite the adversity, many women remain undeterred and continue to chart their own path by pivoting to entrepreneurship and building careers that allow them to work on their own terms with greater flexibility,” said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions at LinkedIn, in a statement.
“We saw this especially in the years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021), when women sheltered from a shrinking job market by starting their own businesses that also created opportunities for other women,” Anand added.
However, the new data also reveals that there is progress being made. More women are being hired into leadership roles from eight years ago, shooting up to 24 per cent this year — 1.36x since 2015. However, more needs to be done.
“As employers navigate this challenge of making work ‘work’ for women, they must remember that factors like internal mobility, fair hiring practices with a focus on skills, and flexibility are going to prove key in not just levelling the playing field for women, but also improving efficiency through balanced representation, diversity of perspectives and inclusive leadership at the workplace,” Anand said.
Further, to support female entrepreneurs, and women in the workforce, LinkedIn has also unlocked some of its courses for free until August 22. These include Gender in Negotiation; Getting to Yes: Advice for Female Founders on How to Get Funded; Leadership Strategies for Women; and Success Strategies for Women in the Workplace.