Diversity at HR Corner Office

Diversity & Inclusion has been a consistent workplace theme in recent times and expected to continue till a possible equilibrium is achieved. Different parts of an Enterprise share the responsibility for ushering and assuring D&I, but the highest responsibility rests with the CEO and HR Function. For starters, we assessed, if organisations have embraced Diversity in their choice of HR Heads. There could not be a better model of assuring Diversity & Inclusion in an organization, than starting with with the HR Head. We all know HR Teams typically have a higher percentage of women and explored if the implementation be any easier there.

This Dipstick Study emerged from the mapping and study of over 200 Women HRO movements over the last 3 years. These 200 movements were from reputed MNC and Indian companies which have 500 FTEs and above from multiple sectors. The research for the data and the resultant sample set by itself generated some interesting insights. Further demographic assessments of the data were all reflective discoveries with interesting HR and Industry dimensions.

Key Findings

Xpheno was able to identify 5 key trends out of these 200 HR Heads appointments which are tabled below.

Gender Shift

While the trends could be anybody’s guess, yet it was surprising enough to note the quantum of shift – in over 60% cases women had replaced a male incumbent. If generalized, the choice is more than clear. While the reasons in the background may be subject to a larger discussion, but the actions have clearly mandated a confirmed trendicator.

External Hire Vs Succession

Only 15% of the Women have risen vertically to take on the no. 1 role, 85% have been external hires. While this speaks of inadequate talent pipeline internally, but also indicates the willingness to hire from outside nevertheless. It also demonstrates the priority associated to the gender choice for the role .

MNC vs Indian Firms

MNCs clearly out-number the Indian counterparts on this trend, as two thirds of these movements have been sighted in the global corporations. This may be led by advanced sensitivity on such subjects driven from their Global Hq. However it is interesting to note that amongst Indian firms, 60% have been cases of gender shift from male to female.

Younger HR Heads

It also emerged that the age of these 200 HR Heads role is also undergoing a correction; average age of the new torch bearers being 39, with over 42% of them being in the 36-40 years bracket.

Sectoral Behavior

Technology, Services / Consulting and Financial Services by the virtue of a lead advantage are ahead in the overall female HR Head pack, but a significant shift is emerging in the traditional industries such as Manufacturing, Auto, Chemicals and Pharma, with gender shift being more pronounced in these sectors (almost ¾) as compared to the prior where the shift is about just about 50%.


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