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Press Releases

Women-workforce productivity impacted by 40% in Delhi-NCR: ASSOCHAM
Thursday, January 03, 2013

ITeS-BPO companies have registered a significant decline in work productivity during the last fortnight as one in three amongst the female worker has either reduced working hours after sunset or quit jobs after horrendous Delhi rape incident, according to quick random survey undertaken by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF).

The unfortunate incident in the national outrage has impacted the productivity of women workforce not only in Delhi-NCR region but also in other major cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahemdabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Dehradun, ASSOCHAM surveyed 2,500 women and they said it was due to long hours and shift jobs.

The survey found that Delhi-NCR, BPO-ITeS have being affected to the extent of 40%. There are near about 2,200 ITES and BPO units in Delhi-NCR region and over 2.5 Lakhs women work in BPOs & ITeS sector in Delhi-NCR.

The survey highlights that nearly 82% of the women respondents said they have started leaving early after the sunset. The anxiety is more among those women who travel by buses, chartered buses, three-wheelers and metro is the most after sunset.

About 89% of those participated in the survey in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad said they have begun insisting on leaving offices on time, immediately after duty hours following the atmosphere of insecurity, adds the survey.

Majority of the respondents of Delhi-NCR marked the atmosphere not comfortable enough for them to work in BPO and ITeS sector, majority of them said ‘bad’ (67%), ‘good’ (10%), satisfied (15%) and very good (8%). Few respondents reported the fact that they often receive indecent calls, especially during the night shifts.

While the productivity has also been affected even among the office-goers and the workforce in other cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, they felt relatively better off than those staying in the Delhi-NCR region, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey.

Releasing the assessment, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat said that in sector specific cases BPO’s, KPO and ITeS Sector, women employees are the most vulnerable and prone to both physical and non-physical attacks especially after their duty hours over. There has been a huge attrition rate amongst females in these sectors. As a result of this, the sectors female employees remain extremely security concern as this anxiety is filled with them in high degrees.
“Security is one of the major concerns for the women who are working in the BPO, KPO and ITeS sectors. The odd hours of work and the long distances of travel make women quite prone to difficult and often dangerous situations, as has been reported in the past over incidences of molestation, rape and murders of young women in BPOs”, adds Mr. Rawat.

A large proportion of the respondents (62%) in Delhi-NCR are satisfied with the security arrangements made within and outside workplace, though approximately 38% of the respondents answered in the negative, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey.

In the absence of proper transport facilities by the organization, commutation becomes a difficult task involving long hours in local buses, trains or cars etc. 65% respondents in Delhi travel more than 50 kms, 26% travel more than 25 kms every day. On the other hand, only 3% travel more than 5 kms and rest 6% have to travel more than 15 kms in Delhi-NCR, adds the survey.

Nearly 82% of females said they fear travelling in public transport at odd hours, especially at night, in comparison to only 22% of men. The problem becomes more acute with the recent rape in Delhi. There are also much graver concerns like acid-throwing, molestation and rape in the national capital.

“In the survey, none of the women said that they had lodged a formal complaint to any kind of authority. There is a big difference therefore, in the crime reported and the actual experiences of women. Crime statistics only reflect those crimes that are reported to the police. Therefore, violence experienced by women on public transport never enters the crime statistics, even though it is serious and rampant”, added Mr. Rawat.

In 2011-12, the IT industry had 52% women in its workforce compared to 32% in 2008-09. At the entry level, in 2007-08, 48% were women compared to 62% in 2011-12. The findings reveal that the BPO workforce is relatively young, the majority being less than 30 years. The mean age of the women employees in BPOs has been found to be 21 to 28- years, adds the ASSOCHAM survey.

Only 52% of the respondents perceived better pay package to be a major attraction for working in shifts. The rest responded that there is no other choice; job demands this.

Demand by nature of job was the major reason for working in night shifts among all the cities surveyed, it is high in Delhi-NCR (82%) followed by Bangalore 82%, 80% in Mumbai, 76% in Hyderabad and 72% in Chennai.

All BPOs & ITeS must make adequate security arrangements for women working therein. As suggested by ASSOCHAM, they may be listed as under:
 

  • All BPOs must have provision of transport facilities for women engaged in evening and night shifts. Where a BPO is unable to arrange for the same for cost reasons, it must avoid the employment of women during odd hours or else, form a conglomerate with other small BPOs in near vicinity for pick up and drop down.
  • A security guard must escort women in office transport.
  • Women employees must be in groups during night shifts; they should not be the first to be picked up from their homes and the last to be dropped home by the drivers.
  • The Local police station must be furnished a complete record of the transport operators for day to day transport arrangements. The credentials of the drivers must be duly verified by the organization as well as submitted to the local police station for necessary verification and record.
  • The Business Process Outsourcing sector ought to install a GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS) for tracking the position of women employee transport vehicles.
  • A 24 hours helpline must be initiated at the crucial step for women security. Through the helpline, an employee may send a SMS at a particular number which will be automatically forwarded to the company as well as the police headquarters of the State. This may be started as a nationwide service facility for all women employees.
  • BPOs must be set up in near locales with adequate police patrolling in order to prevent outside incidences of eve teasing or assault. However, they should not entirely depend on police for safety issues. As a business organization, appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of women in and outside office must be made.

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