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New Delhi, March 2 – Women are just 19 per cent of the sales workforce in India, according to a report released on Thursday.
The report by online professional network LinkedIn shows that women occupy only 13 per cent of sales leadership roles in India.
The IT services and retail sectors have shown to be the most inclusive for women, with 27 per cent and 23 per cent of women respectively working in sales roles.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical (10 per cent), manufacturing (14 per cent) and automotive industries (14 per cent) have an opportunity to take more proactive measures to address the gender gap and create a more inclusive and diverse sales workforce.
The report suggests organisations use a skills-first approach to hiring that can not only ensure sales teams and talent hiring pipelines are more inclusive for women, but also provide them with equal opportunities to pursue a career in sales. It also bodes well for the overall business.
“There remains a concerning gender gap in sales roles across the country but there is hope on the horizon as employers proactively combat unconscious bias by embracing skills-first hiring. This approach values a professional’s ability and contribution over their gender, said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, Talent and Learning Solutions, LinkedIn India, in a statement.
“Diversity is important across all job functions and especially in sales because it boosts creativity, encourages innovation, and inspires a skills-first culture — all of which is key to business growth and success today. Adopting this skills-first mindset will also ultimately lay the foundation for increased boardroom diversity, bringing a wealth of fresh perspectives and ideas to India’s business world,” she added.
While there is a gender gap in the sales workforce, the data on women in sales shows that tier-I cities such as Hyderabad (26 per cent), Bengaluru (25 per cent), and Chennai (22 per cent) have the most number of women sales professionals in the country.
But, sales organisations in tier-II cities such as Ahmedabad (14 per cent), Lucknow (13 per cent), and Jaipur (13 per cent) promise vast potential to bring more women into their workforces.
Further, the report showed that a majority (62 per cent) of women hired in sales today come from non-sales functions like marketing and business development.
This highlights the value of having the right transferable skills, which allows women more opportunities to transition to sales roles.
It also indicates that many organisations are already combating unconscious bias by focusing less on degrees, gender, or previous sales experience, and more on finding talent whose skills match the role.
The report is based on an analysis of over three million LinkedIn profiles of sales professionals in India.