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Women professionals face more absurd queries than men at job interviews

Sulagna D
·4-min read
Focused Indian female customer meeting with financial advisor. Young beautiful candidate at job interview in modern office space. Business consulting or employment concept
Focused Indian female customer meeting with financial advisor. Young beautiful candidate at job interview in modern office space. Business consulting or employment concept

A recent survey found that women professionals still face absurd queries - about their marriage and family plans - at job interviews and appraisals, as compared to their male peers. 

While India Inc. celebrated International Women’s Day with much zest in March, the ground realities haven’t changed on many counts. TimesJobs surveyed 1,564 women professionals, aged 28-40, employed in different sectors to understand how their work-life changed in the last decade.

In the survey, most women professionals said that work-life imbalance was their biggest challenge (voted by 48% respondents), followed by the gender pay gap. Most respondents also said that while hiring most firms held a bias against mothers, preventing women from resuming work post-maternity. These findings cement the age-old rue that working women face many conscious and unconscious biases at work.

Most absurd queries for women professionals:

The survey asked if women professionals face unnecessary probing about their family at job interviews and appraisal meetings, and the unanimous answer was a ‘yes’. About 66% respondents said that they faced absurd questions about marriage or plans on having children v/s their male counterparts. Only 34% respondents said that they hadn’t faced such queries.

Lockdown fatigue for women professionals, more women lost jobs too:

The survey asked the respondents (all working women) if the COVID-19 induced lockdown was tougher for them v/s their male colleagues. Most (74%) respondents said yes, hinting at latent exhaustion from managing work and home non-stop during the pandemic. The survey also probed if any women they knew lost jobs during the pandemic. The answer here too was a ‘yes’, voted by 70% respondents.

No transparency around salary promotes gender pay gap:

Many workplaces – in India and abroad - have been harping about their ‘same work, same pay’ policies for long but that hasn’t reduced the gender pay gap. The survey investigated the reasons for the gender pay gap. Most respondents said that an unconscious bias among hiring managers (executing diversity policies and programs) and no transparency around pay were the two big culprits (each voted by 34% respondents) for the existing pay gap. Gender bias was named as the third contributing factor, as voted by 32% respondents.

Women leaders preferred for different perspectives they bring to the board

The survey uncovered some progressive trends too. When asked if women leaders were taken as seriously as their male counterparts, most (52%) said ‘yes’. Most of these respondents cited that female leaders were preferred for the multiple perspectives they brought to the board pertaining to diversity, work flexibility etc (voted by 36%). The second most voted reason was their focus on teamwork, as voted by 29% respondents.

Also read: 10 inspiring Indian women in business and what's unique about them

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How to ace your first job interview?

Avoid these simple mistakes in your resume

10 business qualities you can learn from Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Women professionals made most progress in the IT/ITeS domain:

The survey asked the domains where women professionals made the most progress and most (35%) respondents voted for the IT/ITeS domain. This was followed by the Hospitality sector, as voted by 16% respondents. On the other hand, Automobiles (just 3% votes) and Pharmaceuticals sectors (voted by 5% respondents) were perceived as less encouraging for women employees.

Commenting on the findings of this survey, Sanjay Goyal, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig said, “There are a host of tech tools available that help make the hiring and appraisal process completely transparent and bias-free. We now have cutting-edge platforms that help assess a professional basis his skill prowess, and for a second opinion, anyone can view those interviews or skill tests again. With such progressive tools in place, there’s no way that organisations should let bias creep in workplaces and derail their progress”.

Source: TimesJobs survey

About TimesJobs:

TimesJobs is a platform to help competent professionals enhance their career growth. With over 25 million registered job seekers across the board and more than 60 million page views every month, it is the most preferred career portal among ambitious and talented professionals who want to make smarter career decisions that accelerate their career progression.

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