New Delhi: Technology giant IBM on Thursday announced leadership programmes for potential women leaders in areas like technology and sales to create a pipeline in these career segments traditionally dominated by men.

The new initiatives aim to encourage women with technical skills in the workplace and focus on leadership development in technical and sales functions across all business divisions at IBM, the company said in a statement.

A female passes an IBM sign outside an IBM building . Photo: AFP

“While the initial challenge of getting women to be a part of the workforce in conventional roles has been met, there is a need to do focused programmes across functions of business, technical and sales leadership," Anupama Ambe, the chairperson of the India Women Leadership Council (IWLC), IBM India, said.

The business benefits are many and the need is quite apparent as the company sees many senior leaders in the decision-making chain, she added.

Currently, women comprise 26% of the IBM workforce in India. The company has now started two programmes - SalesElan and TechAcme.

SalesElan, a programme for women’s leadership development in sales, will be a multi-tier programme across all levels and business units. It will introduce the sales profession to relevant areas through job rotation in a structured manner. For instance, those in product development are moved to sales and encouraged to take on direct selling jobs as client-facing roles provide the necessary insight needed for leadership roles.

This is in addition to the existing Sales Eminence programme, which focuses on building basic selling skills, providing a deeper understanding of the market and business development competencies.

Another new programme, ‘TechAcme’, will focus on women in technical functions. Role models from within IBM and from the industry will be invited as speakers and for interactive sessions with all managers.

A priority engagement programme, Liquid Plus, will focus on providing alumni women IBMers with an opportunity to continue a professional connect with IBM. The purpose of the programme is to find the world’s best talent to design and develop innovative software applications.

Over 6,000 women have gone through leadership programmes exclusively meant for women in IBM. Of these, over 250 of the top talent women have gone through customized programmes with duration of 12-18 months.

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