In addition to many challenges organizations face in abandoning traditional approaches to managing people as part of adopting an investment perspective to HR, there are a number of critical trends affecting the employment relationships that further affect how organizations need to manage their employees. Some of the trends pertain to changes in external environment in the organization and others pertain to ways in which organization respond to such changes internally. Three major internal challenges faced by organizations are: technological changes, diversity of the work-force and increase in the number of women in organizations.
There is a noticeable trend in today’s work-force, whereby more women are earning team-leader and managerial positions in businesses. It is estimated that within the next few months women will cross the 50 percent threshold in workforce universally. Women already make up for majority of the university graduates in OECD countries and the majority of the professional workers in several rich countries. Women run many of the worlds’ great companies from PepsiCo in USA to Areva in France.
Women’s economic empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our times. Just a generation ago, women were largely confined to repetitive, menial jobs. Employment has enabled many women to gain control over their own lives. However, the representation of women is not equally distributed in various sectors. Only 2 percent of the bosses of America’s largest companies are women and less than 4 percent are represented as board members.
The situation is similar in India also. There is a concentration of women workforce in certain organizational sectors like banking, insurance, health, education and IT-BPO sectors. It is needless to say that the unorganized sector is dominated by women. Whatever be the background or the sector, challenges exist for women to combat, that may limit their chances of earning their promotions. In a recent survey, women have emphasized two main problems they find the hardest to deal with in the work place:
- Finding the balance between family and work life
- Finding the most effective way to communicate with males in the work place.
Finding a balance between family and work life is something many women face at some stage in their lives.
In the present paper, we would like to address some of the issues and challenges facing women in the BPO sector and consider some initiatives that may be implemented by the organizations.
The Indian IT-BPO industry with revenues of US $39.6 billion has emerged as the largest private sector in the country with direct employment of 1.6 million professionals and indirect employment for over 6 million people in different sectors.
According to a (NASSCOM) survey, as reported in Economic Times (May, 2009), there are 400 million workforce in India, out of which 30-35 percent are female and only one-fifth of these women work in urban areas. The same survey reported that the number of women in BPO sector grew to 6.7 lakhs in 2008. There are different types of work in BPO’s including those of customer service call centers, email help providers, medical transcribers and insurance claim processors. Generally, women are still not in management and decision making positions in the IT industry. Neither are most of them considered IT professionals since BPO employment is not professional information technology employment. Hardware and software development are the ones regarded as professional work and these areas are undoubtedly male-dominated.
According to ILO report (2008), in most developing countries, women have a passive attitude towards technology and the persistent barriers which hinder the access and use of technology are socialization patterns, unequal access to education and training.
Despite the above factors, the number of women employed by the BPO sector is...