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Companies step up campus hiring of women

Companies in India are increasing the hiring of women from campuses, as they set the sights on making the workplace more gender diverse.

Catching them early will not only help groom female talent and build a future pipeline, but also give the companies access to a larger, fresh pool of candidates to bring in out-of-the-box thinking and promote a more inclusive and innovative workplace culture, say industry executives.

Companies such as Tata Steel, Vedanta, Axis Bank, Cognizant, HDFC Bank and PwC are among those that have been stepping up hiring women from campuses through initiatives such as more female-friendly policies, tie-ups with women's colleges and active engagement with campuses.

"We believe that the way to increasing gender diversity in a workplace starts with the hiring process and that it is essential to groom female talent from early on in order to build a pipeline of strong woman leaders," said a Tata Steel spokesperson.

The steel company visits 10-20 B-schools and engineering colleges and has increased its hiring of women candidates from campuses over the years - as the demographics at campuses also changed - with women currently accounting for 40-50% of its fresher intake.

Diversified miner Vedanta's percentage of female hires has risen from 33% in 2020 to 38% in 2022. "This year we are aiming for 50% of our campus hires to be women," said chief HR officer Madhu Srivastava.

For Axis Bank, visiting women's colleges, interview panels with female leaders, diversity friendly policies like hybrid work model as well as differential cut-off for women have helped attract more women over the years. The percentage of women hiring has moved from 39% in 2021 to 45% in 2022.

HDFC Bank has hired more than 1,100 women from campuses since December 2020. On an average, 38-40% of hires from campus are women. PwC India has a stated intent to have at least 40% gender diversity across all teams.