Addressing Skill and Gender Gaps Within The Current Workforce

"To ensure a steady stream of exceptional women leaders, organizations will need to develop innovative programs that provide opportunities for growth and advancement and identify and encourage high-performing women to participate in these programs."


Expecting women to find their way into the industry—and thrive in it—by paying lip service to “diversity” isn’t enough. Pallavi Tyagi, CHRO, Capgemini India explains as to how can companies narrow down such discriminatory acts and that how can the 'male champions' help them lead their way upto a C-Suite level.

1. How having women in the top management helps in business transformation for the company?

We need women at all levels, including in the top management, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, and drive innovation and business transformation across the organization. Also having a higher proportion of women in leadership brings diversity in creative thought, innovation, and insights that can have a positive influence on business strategy decisions and execution. At Capgemini in India we have a robust gender balance program called WinspirE, which provides equal growth opportunities and favorable working conditions for all colleagues, enabling our women colleagues to achieve their career aspirations and organizational milestones. Through our strategic gender diversity programs and initiatives, we have achieved a diversity ratio of nearly 38% in 2020. 

2. Are we really seeing more women at leadership roles? What are the unique initiatives by Capgemini to enable women to move up the ladder into leadership positions?

The dynamics is gradually changing across industries while at Capgemini in India we are steadily making great progress specially at senior leadership levels while continuously working to improve the pipeline; with all other factors being equal across genders. To ensure a steady stream of exceptional women leaders, organizations will need to develop innovative programs that provide opportunities for growth and advancement and identify and encourage high-performing women to participate in these programs. At Capgemini, we have numerous initiatives to enable women to move up the ladder into leadership positions.

We have several mentoring interventions with an aim to help our women colleagues to have a long, successful career.  For instance, ‘SPEED’ mentoring is an initiative for our mid- level colleagues where participants explore and engage with mentors digitally - through a series of short, focused conversations about specific topics. These conversations involve one-on-one interaction between participants and mentors. The objective of SPEED is to connect, interact, and address the area of learning from the conversations with the leaders as learning comes from having the space to reflect on one’s experience and hear from others. Hence the program is designed to be listening, reflecting, and sharing exercise.
 At Capgemini in India we have another initiative called WiTI (Women in Tech India), which provides our women colleagues, a platform to showcase and strengthen their skills, develop newer technical competencies, be more intentional about their careers and learn from their role models. This leads to an increase in employee engagement and retention within the organization while strengthening the leadership pipeline. The initiative aims at engaging and empowering women colleagues from the business to have successful careers.

We also have a Women Sponsorship Program which is a step towards building a strong pipeline of women leaders for future roles who are willing to take their career to the next level through sponsorship and advocacy of senior leaders. The program is perceived for a period of 2 years to help the women protégés discover themselves, engage with the sponsors and senior leaders, develop on their existing strengths and build on their areas of improvement and be self-reliant. The success metrics and enablers of the program has been decided by the Protégés themselves in a series of Roundtables and the progress will be tracked on a regular basis using a SMART goals template. 

At Capgemini, we believe that grooming talent needs to start early, and it is imperative that we create an environment which helps our women colleagues to have a longer, successful career with us. With this thought in mind we nominated 120+ women colleagues for the Women Wizards Rule Tech (W2RT), a NASSCOM Diversity & Inclusion initiative with an aim to enable women technologists build awareness about tech capabilities/ skills in emerging technologies of their choice. Our leaders play a pivotal role in creating and maintaining an environment where colleagues can achieve their full potential. In line with that thought, we have 9 Capgemini leaders in India participating as mentors in this program. 

3. How ‘Male Champions’ can help women grow upto leadership positions in the organisation?

Men play an important role in achieving gender diversity at workplace. Male Champions can explicitly use their authority to create a more inclusive culture within their teams and within the organization as a whole including ensuring women candidates are interviewed for all relevant positions. 

At Capgemini, men play an active role as advocates of gender diversity and leaders consistently engage in fostering a culture of inclusion in their businesses by sponsoring and advocating for diversity. Our gender balance program, WinspirE’s core committee includes a healthy mix of men and women leaders. Through our programs and initiatives, we at Capgemini promote and support male allies to build an inclusive culture at workplace.  

4. What are the career growth opportunities offered by Capgemini for women employees joining back post break?

At Capgemini in India, our endeavour is to provide positive impact on employee engagement and reducing women attrition due to childcare, flexibility and work-life balance issues. Other than flexible policies for all which aid in better work-life balance for women we also have initiatives like fareWelcome! and CAPtivate for career growth opportunities for women coming back post break.

fareWelcome! is designed to support women colleagues during the maternity phase - assist in transition from office to maternity leave, helping them stay connected with the organization and colleagues during the maternity break and ease the ‘back to work’ transition process. Additionally, up-skilling enablers are also provided to ensure smooth transition from maternity leave to work. We leverage flexibility as a key tool to enable work-life balance. This program is also availed by women who adopt and new mothers through surrogacy. 

CAPtivate is Capgemini’s career comeback initiative to support skilled women professionals who want to make a transition back into the workforce. As part of our exclusive women-only recruitment initiative, resumes are invited from experienced women professionals who are currently on a career break and are looking to get back to their careers. Women who are currently not employed for a minimum duration of a year can apply to jobs that are relevant to their work experience.

5. How companies are reskilling their employees to address skill gaps? Also, how is Capgemini addressing this issue differently?

As technologies and business models continue to evolve, companies need to ensure reskilling of their workforce so they thrive and grow.  Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need for reskilling and upskilling the workforce as they adapt to the new normal of remote working. Hence, companies are taking considerable efforts to recognize the skill gaps in their workforce and develop dedicated reskilling programs to address it.  

At Capgemini, we focus on equipping our employees with the right skills and helping them adapt to the dynamic business and technology needs of our clients. We provide structured learning offerings that cater to the employees with varying levels of experience and expertise. These learning initiatives are designed with an objective to provide end to end transformation through skill enhancement.  

Last year we launched 'Next', a state-of-the-art AI enabled digital learning platform and a digital 'one-stop shop' to address all development needs. Available to all our employees across all levels, the AI driven ‘Next’ platform recommends personalized microlearning from renowned content providers such as Pluralsight, Harvard, Coursera, Microsoft Learn, Service Now and many others. The platform not only provides employees the learning content which they are looking for but enables Capgemini to push structured learning using specific skill plans and pathways. The curated learning content provided in the role based and skill based technical learning journeys allow employees to upskill and learn through practice labs in many new age technologies such as AWS, Azure, Android, IOs to name a few. This new learning platform is immersive and experiential as it gives access to a gamut of skill building programs with the flexibility to learn anytime from anywhere.

6. How are Women leaders playing a pivotal role in fostering Disruptive Innovation?

In a marketplace defined by complexity, disruption and change, there are many women leaders across industries who have played a pivotal role in fostering disruptive innovation. These women have brought diverse perspectives and experiences to address each challenge with an innovative approach. 

At Capgemini, we have long believed that creating a work environment where women can thrive, and implement initiatives that support, advance, retain and reward them, is not only the right thing to do, it is a smart and strategic business approach.

7. Why do we still see Biased Pay and Status approach in C Suite level women leaders? Also, what all measures can be taken to equalise this status across industries?

Over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of women in the C Suite level. Moving forward, organizations will need to revisit their current processes related to recruitment and workforce planning to ensure more women are included into leadership roles. By building an inclusive environment by looking at programs, policies and processes; we will build gender balance across all levels and tap into innovation and engagement levels that will ensue.


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