Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why are Satyam's HR practices stuck in the 19th century?


This report in the Business Line from about a month ago [via Emma] starts innocently enough:

The good news on the gender front is that companies like Satyam Computer are actively seeking to recruit women at senior or leadership levels.

For a company that's "actively seeking to recruit women", it's really odd to find its HR Director, Mr. A. S. Murthy, holding -- and expressing -- some horribly stereotyped views about women. Just look at what he says about single women:

... [The] examples of many single women at the top is not a proud example I want to quote. Their anxiety, attitude, communication methods, etc, cause concern. Especially in divorced women, we commonly find problems and my experience is not positive. Some of these women are difficult to fit into teams; they can make both insensitive bosses as well as subordinates." ...

The last paragraph is revealing, too:

"[When] we look at the attrition figures, we're asking if we train women for 6-24 months, what is the use if they leave?" The average tenure of women is 2 years; with that of men being slightly higher, he adds.

Let's get this straight: the question "what is the use if they leave?" is asked only about women, but not about men, whose average tenure is "slightly higher". The man's bias is revealing, no? Is this bias shared by Satyam's top management?

4 Comments:

  1. barbarindian said...

    I see that you are still spinning your web of communist propaganda.

    You left out this important passage:

    "Contrary to popular belief women don't gossip much in office. They complete their task in time and leave. You might find male employees in office till 7 or 8.30 p.m., but their overall productivity is not necessarily better."

    I feel this dude is just concerned that there is a lack of women with the so called wholesome family image at top ranks. He just was not able to communicate it well.

  2. Mridula said...

    Barbarindian, if the dude is Senior Vice President blah blah of Satyam and he is making a public statement, he should make his business to communicate it well. Read this paragraph like this:

    [The] examples of many single women at the top is not a proud example I want to quote. Their anxiety, attitude, communication methods, etc, cause concern. Especially in divorced women, we commonly find problems and my experience is not positive. Some of these women are difficult to fit into teams; they can make both insensitive bosses as well as subordinates."

    Only once he uses 'some' and don't we find these problems with men and married women too? This kind of stereotyping cannot be undone by making some placatory noises about women not indulging is office gossip. I don't buy it.

  3. Abi said...

    Mridula, Thanks for your response to Barbarindian. I too found Mr. Murthy's views offensive. If this is how he is going to attract women to top positions in Satyam, not even the non-existent god can save that company. As someone rightly pointed out on Emma's blog, this guy wouldn't have his job if he had made these statements in the US.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Unfortunately even in 2010 this bias is held by the majority of guys I know, especially by the older Managers. Such attitudes are a pathetic remnant from a bygone era. Until sexist mind people retire, or leave willingly it's doubtful things will change much. Progress needs a push....

    They're too hard headed to see their old ways are weighing the company down by demoralizing those around them. No one benefits by holding back smart, capable people with great ideas. Furthermore the company suffers overall when its difficult to get work done right with such unnecessary distractions.

    Women deal with sexism on a regular basis and practically have come to expect it, from young idiots and old timers- their "light" harassment like being talked down to, not given serious responsibilities, guys being chummy with only guys and not sharing info or contacts, the inability for them to respect a female higher up or take advice or orders ...

    Then there's outright sexism of not being promoted and having to fight for any raise or bonus. Are there any Female Executives or Regional Managers in Satyam- No. Why not?! In any other country this fact would have started a class action lawsuit on the grounds of unprofessional favoritism but its accepted within Indian culture, because in part we Women tolerate it and fear for our jobs by speaking up. Catch is, our passivity will assure it remains in place long after change should have come. Guys aren't the enemy, just the jerks are, yet they all benefit the same when Women are left behind, under-represented and underpaid.