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MUMBAI : About half of Indian companies are actively hiring women returnees, according to a survey of 300 companies conducted by JobsForHer, India’s largest online career platform for women.

Nearly 50% of Indian women drop out of the corporate employment pipeline between junior and mid-levels. The need of the hour is a collaborative and continuous effort from the corporate world to ensure that women return to the workforce across levels.

In 2019-2020, 48% of Indian companies formed special initiatives (returnee programs for women in India) to bring women back into the workforce, according to the report. A returnee program is an internship for professionals returning to the workforce after a period of unemployment.

The number of women employed in the IT industry in India has seen an upward trend in the last decade, with more than 30% of the entry-level being women, but participation of women in tech starts declining as we move up in the career ladder. However, the pandemic has just exacerbated the gap in the tech sector. Tech companies need to address this issue head-on or the already stubborn gender gap will only continue to widen for women in tech.

Amazon AWS - Second Innings, Maersk - Back to Work, Airbus - FlyAgain, Myntra - Phoenix, Google - Next Innings, GSK - Rekindle, Morgan Stanley - Return to Work Program, Thoughtworks Vapasi, TVS Motor: Unnati – Second career program for women professionals are a few of the global companies that have partnered with JobsForHer with their returnee initiatives to encourage and accelerate women’s careers back on track with advanced tech jobs. These initiatives are expected to boost women's participation in large droves and fully utilize their talent and skills.

Neha Bagaria, founder and CEO of JobsForHer said, “An increasing number of organisations, both large and small, are realising the untapped potential of qualified women engineers who are on a career break. It is heartening to note the number of returnee programs being launched so that women can ramp up their journey back to work."

JobsForHer survey based on women returnee programs revealed that 36% of the companies conducted special drives to hire women returnees and 23% of companies have created a special target to hire women returnees. These companies also agree that their recruiters are now more sensitised to understand women returnee applicants. And 38% of the companies said women returnees hired by them are doing well in their roles.

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