Women Entrepreneurs: More women are looking for entrepreneurship opportunities during the pandemic, LinkedIn data shows

MUMBAI: A higher proportion of women in India are now seeking entrepreneurship opportunities than men, despite the country having a disproportionately low representation of women in leadership positions in the workforce (18%), according to the latest data from LinkedIn. The data, which was part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, shows that the proportion of female founders grew by 2.68x between 2016 and 2021. Comparatively, the proportion of male founders grew by just 1.79x over the same period .

The report also reveals that the growth rate of female entrepreneurship was the highest in 2020 and 2021.

In addition to being underrepresented in leadership positions, the data reveals that women are also not promoted internally to leadership positions in companies at the same rate as men, with men being 42% more likely than women to be promoted to leadership positions.

This could explain why women in leadership positions also increasingly fall behind their male counterparts at higher stages of their careers, with women’s share of the workforce declining along the corporate ladder. In India, the representation of women leaders drops from 29% at the senior level to a staggering 18% at the managerial level.

“Working women in India are held back by more barriers in the workplace compared to men. But despite adversity, many women remain steadfast and continue to chart their own path by turning to entrepreneurship and building careers that allow them to work on their own terms with greater flexibility,” said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions, LinkedIn. “We saw this especially in the pandemic years (2020 and 2021), when women protected themselves from the shrinking labor market by starting their own businesses that also created opportunities for other women,” she added.

However, despite this, LinkedIn’s data reveals that progress has been made – more women are being hired in management positions than eight years ago, up 24% this year – 1.36 times compared to 2015.

“As employers navigate this challenge of making work ‘work’ for women, they must bear in mind that factors such as internal mobility, fair employment practices with a focus on skills and flexibility will prove critical not only to leveling the playing field for women, but also to improve efficiency through balanced representation, diversity of perspectives and inclusive leadership in the workplace,” said Anand.

The analysis is based on LinkedIn data, extracted from anonymized and aggregated profile information of 830 million LinkedIn members worldwide. The share of women in management is the total number of women in director, vice president, C-suite or partner positions divided by the total number of men and women in these positions.

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