Pakistan’s IT and ITeS industry has seen significant growth in recent years, becoming the largest net services exporter with exports to 169 countries. However, the industry faces significant challenges when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusivity, particularly in terms of empowering women in Pakistan IT & ITeS sector and the disability representation. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key takeaways from the report by [email protected] on Diversity and Inclusion in IT & ITeS landscape in Pakistan 2022, and highlight some of the challenges and opportunities for promoting diversity and inclusivity in the industry.
- Pakistan ranks 153 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021. Women make up 49.2% of Pakistan’s population, but only 22.2% of this is part of the labor force. The gender diversity ratio of the IT Industry in Pakistan is 17.08%.
- Women older than 40 are at a much higher risk of being replaced than men in the same age group. People with disabilities account for almost 25 million in Pakistan. Muslim majority in Pakistan is 207.68 million, while religious minorities account for less than 4% of the population.
- Lahore is the only city with companies with more than 40% gender diversity, while Islamabad has the highest number of companies with less than 10% gender diversity.
- The gender diversity ratio has an inverse relationship with the hierarchy in the IT industry. As the role climbs up, the ratio has a declining trend. The mid-level role shows about 32% gender diversity in the medium range (30%-50%).
- 53% of females leave jobs to start a family, which is a major cause of the low proportion of females reaching the top of companies.
Challenges and Opportunities
The key takeaways suggest that there are significant challenges when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusivity in Pakistan’s IT and ITeS industry. These challenges are multifaceted, and include societal attitudes towards career women, lack of support for work-life balance and mental health, and limited career opportunities for women in core IT departments.
One major challenge is related to the low representation of women in the industry. The report highlights that women make up only 17.08% of the IT industry in Pakistan, with the gender diversity ratio declining as the role hierarchy climbs up. Additionally, women older than 40 are at a higher risk of being replaced than men in the same age group, indicating a need for greater support for older women in the industry.
Another challenge is related to female retention, with 53% of females leaving jobs to start a family. This adds up to decreasing the gender ratio further, and is also a major cause of the low proportion of females reaching the top of companies. Companies in the industry can play a vital role in promoting work-life balance and enabling women to continue their careers while also starting and raising a family.
Furthermore, the report highlights the need to promote greater representation of people with disabilities in the industry. While there is limited formal data available on disability representation in the industry, estimates suggest that people with disabilities account for almost 25 million in Pakistan.
Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities for promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in the industry. For example, Lahore has companies with more than 40% gender diversity, indicating that there are companies in Pakistan that are successfully promoting gender diversity. Additionally, there is a need to create a supportive work environment that recognizes and accommodates the needs of working mothers and people with disabilities, as well as individuals from religious minorities.
Another opportunity is related to promoting greater representation of women in core IT departments. The report highlights that women are often encouraged to pursue a career in Human Resource Management due to a perception that they have soft skills, rather than pursuing careers in core IT departments. Companies can work towards promoting greater representation of women in all areas of the industry, and providing clear career growth opportunities for women.
Moreover, it is important to address societal attitudes towards career women and promote greater acceptance and respect for women pursuing careers in the industry. This can be done through awareness campaigns, education and training, and creating a supportive environment for women in the industry.
In conclusion, promoting diversity and inclusivity in Pakistan’s IT and ITeS industry is a multifaceted challenge that requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. The challenges related to gender and disability representation, as well as work-life balance and mental health, need to be addressed through a combination of policy measures, organizational initiatives, and societal change. At the same time, the opportunities for promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in the industry need to be recognized and leveraged for the benefit of all. By promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in the industry, Pakistan can continue to grow and thrive as a global leader in the IT and ITeS sector.
At BearPlex, we recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the IT and ITeS industry in Pakistan. We believe that promoting greater representation of women, people with disabilities, and individuals from religious minorities is critical for the growth and success of the industry as a whole.
To this end, we have implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity in our organization and in the wider industry. Our recruitment and hiring practices prioritize diversity and we strive to create an inclusive work environment that values and respects all employees, regardless of their background or identity.
Moreover, we work closely with industry organizations such as [email protected] to promote greater awareness of the challenges and opportunities related to diversity and inclusivity in the industry. We also actively support programs and initiatives that aim to empower women and promote their representation in the IT and ITeS industry in Pakistan.
At BearPlex, we believe that diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords, but essential elements of a thriving and innovative industry. We are committed to playing our part in creating a more diverse and inclusive IT landscape in Pakistan and look forward to continuing our efforts in this direction.