Surge in Female Representation in Chemicals and Manufacturing Sectors, reveals a study by The Udaiti Foundation and Quess Corp

QuessThe Udaiti Foundation (TUF) and Quess Corp, a pioneer in the staffing solutions sector, released an insightful report titled, “From Rhetoric to Action – Creating Gender Inclusive Workplaces”, at a roundtable convening, held in Bengaluru on May 30th. The stakeholder dialogue involved Industry leaders from different sectors, researchers and experts from the social sector deliberating on challenges in hiring and retention of women especially in the blue and grey collar jobs, to develop actionable solutions to achieve gender inclusivity in the workplace across domains.

The study is an outcome of a year-long collaboration between Quess Corp and The Udaiti Foundation. It highlights a significant surge in female representation in the chemicals and manufacturing sectors over the past four years. It also talks about Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), having the highest percentage of women representation at 26%, followed by Consumer Services at 24%. Further, the report sheds light on the female participation among Quess associates (blue and grey collar workers who work for Quess clients) being low at about 17%, due to an array of factors [at the demand and supply sides] – such as job roles catering specifically to men, women’s inability to take up job roles requiring long hours of travel, long work hours stretching beyond 6 PM etc.

However, Quess has not been deterred by any of these challenges and has been consistently working with its clients, to onboard more women and ensure that the female representation among associates reaches at least 25% in the next couple of years.

Other Insights from the Report:

1. Enhancing Retention: The initial 90-day period is critical in addressing early attrition and enhancing retention of associates. Nearly one out of every two associates who quit, do so within the crucial initial 90-day period, with the proportion of female dropouts slightly outpacing their male counterparts. Therefore, this phase demands targeted interventions that could potentially stem the outflow of talent. Data suggests that associates who sustain the initial 3-4 month period post hiring tend to remain in the workforce for an additional 9-10 months.

2. Rising Demand for Women in Manufacturing: The demand for female associates is increasing beyond traditional sectors, particularly in the Chemicals and Manufacturing industries. At present, 11% of the Quess workforce in the manufacturing sector is women, spanning across 400 industrial and manufacturing units. New-age manufacturing companies, especially those in the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry, are showing a growing preference for female workers, with some companies employing up to 90% female workforce on their shop floors.

3. Incentives boost retention of women employees: The study indicates that access to benefits significantly improves retention among female associates at Quess. A comprehensive benefits package, including contributions to the Provident Fund (PF) and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme, along with performance incentives, plays a crucial role in this. Data reveals that married women with PF benefits are three times more likely to stay with the company compared to those without, while single women with ESIC benefits are 48% more likely to retain their jobs than their counterparts without such benefits. Additionally, performance incentives make single women three times more likely to remain employed, and married women receiving quarterly incentives are seven times more likely to stay.

4. Caregiving becomes core-driver for exits in women employees: Better career opportunities emerge as a dominant driver for departures across genders, accounting for 43% of exits. Women, however, disproportionately cite family responsibilities and health issues, including pregnancy-related concerns, as reasons for leaving their jobs.

Remarking on the collaboration Pooja Sharma Goyal, CEO of The Udaiti Foundation said, “The roles and representation of women in the workforce management industry have evolved significantly, reflecting broader societal shifts towards gender parity. Our collaborative journey with Quess Corp began a year ago, aiming to increase female workforce participation which is a critical success factor to realize the $10 trillion economy ambition of India. Through data backed evidence generation and stakeholder engagement, we aim to achieve a significant increase in women’s representation over the next 5 years. We urge industry leaders to join us in the mission to reach 50% Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in the coming decade.”

Guruprasad Srinivasan, Executive Director and Group CEO, Quess Corp said, “We are happy to see an increase in the workforce participation of women in Quess in some sectors in the last few years, including logistics (35%), FMCG (24%), and manufacturing (11%, but fast-growing). The female labour force participation in urban India is 25.4% for the above 15 age group, as per the government data, which is one of the lowest in the world. Bridging the gender gap in employment can significantly increase the country’s GDP and Quess is committed to this cause. We have been working with our clients and policy makers to hire women across sectors. We have also taken up several initiatives such as providing accommodation, basic amenities to support migrant workers and deploying female liaison officers at manufacturing units to oversee welfare of female associates. We have introduced a chatbot to engage with new hires during their first 90 days to gather insights and identify potential flight risks.”


The report was prepared based on an analysis of monthly Quess payroll data. The Udaiti Foundation has analysed payroll data for over 15 lakh Quess employees from 2020 to 2023. The collaborative effort between Udaiti and Quess delves into the representation, retention, and turnover dynamics among Quess associates, with a specific focus on gender disparities and initiatives aimed at enhancing women’s representation.