Data by World Bank suggests that women make up only 23 per cent of India’s labour force in 2019, compared to 48 per cent of the global average.
Another study by the Center for Talent Innovation suggests that 36 per cent of women in India take a break from work. This could be for various reasons — getting married, starting a family, pursuing a passion, or for eldercare. While Indian women take shorter breaks (11 months) compared to their counterparts in Germany (1.9 years) and the US (2.7 years), only 58 per cent of them are able to rejoin work full-time. This dip directs towards rejection for the gap year(s), lower pay and outdated skill sets.
Tech companies in India, as in abroad, have developed programmes to make their workplaces more women-friendly and help professionals on a break return to the workforce. These programmes are mostly directed towards providing access to the right leadership and mentors, in-job training to improve their skills, and ultimately providing opportunities to absorb them back into the workforce.
We list some of these programmes for returning women by tech firms in India.
Google Next Innings Program
Google’s next innings programme is for women looking to get back to the workforce. It is aimed at easing the process for these professionals with guidance and mentorship from experienced leaders. Shortlisted professionals get to work on Google Cloud’s core technologies while learning from the experts and experiencing product development at the tech giant.
The Next Innings program allows professionals to work on Google Cloud Storage, data analytics, cloud security, and its application management platform. The six months paid programme is available in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. For more details on the programme, check Google’s noticeboard here.
Amazon Rekindle Program
E-commerce giant Amazon provides a rekindle launch pad for women who have at least a 12-months career break due to any circumstances. The initiative helps women professionally re-integrate themselves and restart their corporate careers.
Candidates applying for the programme must come with past work experience that matches the requirements for a particular identified position. Post joining, professionals are provided access to information to prepare for the interview. Once shortlisted after the interview, they are on-boarded for the orientation and mentoring programmes.
To check the job openings available under the rekindle programme, click here.
Microsoft India’s flagship program, Springboard, provides a platform for women to relaunch their careers after taking a minimum of six months of break. Applicants must have a minimum experience of four years.
The 16-weeks programme is targeted at helping women get back into the workforce by training them to solve complex problems in real-time. The programme provides community support, and candidates are mentored by experienced managers. After the programme, candidates’ skills are identified and matched with roles across teams in Microsoft India.
Learn about the success stories of this on-the-job training programme here.
IBM’s Tech Re-Entry Program
IBM’s Tech Re-Entry Program is directed towards professionals with prior experience looking to restart their careers after taking a break for at least two years. However, professionals who took as long as a 20-years break can also apply for the paid returnship program.
The programme provides opportunities to enhance one’s skills while on the job. Launched in 2018, the program offers access to on-the-job projects, learning programmes, and the opportunity to work with the latest technologies and multi-disciplinary teams. Additionally, professionals are guided by dedicated mentors throughout the programme and post the successful completion of the program, IBM absorbs the best of the lot for full-time roles.
To know more about the opportunity or to apply for the program, click here.
Accenture Return to Work Program
Accenture’s return to work programme is meant for professionals looking to return to the workforce after 18 months or more. It is a 16-week paid returnship programme.
This programme is meant for professionals looking to up-skill in domains including cloud, AI, DevOps and intelligent automation. Additionally, the programme offers on-the-job shadow training and opportunities to brush up on one’s soft skills. Once the programme is completed, Accenture provides opportunities for full-time employment.
Click here to know more about the opportunity.
PayPal Recharge India
This six-week programme at financial technology company PayPal is developed to provide support to women technologists who are willing to return to work after taking some time off. The Recharge programme is aimed at women who have been out of the workforce for at least one to five years but are now looking to resume their careers.
According to PayPal’s website, Recharge has received close to 1,500 applications in the last two years from professionals with at least three years of experience in software development, PMO, analytics and quality. Out of this, 200 were invited for a skill-building program, 75 joined PayPal’s boot camp, and 20 were offered job opportunities at PayPal. The programme is available in Bengaluru and Chennai.
The Thoughtworks Vapasi or Bringing women back to work programme has had two editions and 16 batches so far. It is designed to cater to women technologists with at least three years of experience looking to return to the workforce post a career break. Women applying for the programme must have taken a break of one year to eight years.
According to Thoughtworks’ website, the programme, tailed for Quality Analysts and Developers, reported more than 250 women participating. Vapasi is a free and certified technical programme that provides mentoring engagements, hands-on sessions and access to leadership. It is hosted by Thoughtworks Bengaluru and Hyderabad offices.
While the third edition of the Vapasi programme is nearing completion, you can be updated for the next cohort here.
With guidance from the leadership, training, up-skilling and fair pay, more Indian women will be able to get back to the workforce, taking the percentage up for returning women.
Read about how COVID-19 has hit women in tech harder here.