Starbucks brings in gender pay parity in India

Starbucks brings in gender pay parity in India
MUMBAI: Tata Starbucks has brought pay parity between men and women across verticals in its workforce—perhaps the first company in India’s food and beverage sector to do so. Women comprise 29% of Tata Starbucks’ employee strength.

Tata Starbucks head (marketing) Deepa Krishnan said that its employees are gauged solely on experience and skills, and not gender. “Most companies face issues when women rejoin the workforce after a break, be it for marriage or childbirth. We are ensuring that candidates — with their respective level of experience and skillsets — aren’t differentiated on the basis of their gender,” she told TOI.

Tata Starbucks, a joint venture (JV) between Tata Global Beverages and Seattle-based Starbucks, was the first quick-service restaurant chain in India to offer a five-day work week to all employees in 2016. The India JV is Starbucks’ fourth unit to achieve pay parity after the US, Canada and China. Its home country was the first where Starbucks closed the pay gap in 2018.

Tata Starbucks, which has completed seven years this month, has increased the share of women in its workforce to 29% from 14% five years ago. “The goal is to take that number to 40% by 2022,” Krishnan said. Starbucks has been on an expansion spree in India and currently has 167 outlets and 2,000 employees on its rolls.

Besides pay parity and five-day work week, Tata Starbucks has several other policies, such as flexible shifts, mentorship, as well as maternity and paternity leave to retain staff.

“The share of women in India’s workforce was 37% a decade ago. In 2018, the number decreased to around 26%. There are societal reasons for this. Family plays an important role for working women… we invite employees’ family members to our outlets. When they see the work environment and the respect customers have for our staffers, there is a positive impact,” Krishnan said.

The company actively goes on the lookout for women talent to ensure it sees a balance in the resumes it processes. “We hire from NGOs that train women, from women colleges like SNDT and from hospitality management institutes,” Krishnan said. “Our company’s retail vertical, which is the most visible, has about 35% share of women,” she added.