BENGALURU: Diversity of talent, from a gender perspective, would be a top priority area for Amazon India, according to Amazon India chief Amit Agarwal, as he addressed his staff in an all-hands meeting on Tuesday, two people present there said. Agarwal's comments come as the local arm of Seattle-based technology giant completes six years in India continuing its fight against Flipkart
, where it's US-based rival Walmart
now owns a 77% stake. Amazon has at least 60,000 employees in India, which accounts for about 10% of the global workforce 6.1 lakh.
Agarwal's comments are thus of significance indicating the company's intent to improve its talent diversity in India, which had highest job openings in the country in the overall Asia-Pacific market. The development also comes at a time when debate on diversity and wage parity has picked up pace among technology companies in US as well.
All-hands is an annual internal event for Amazon with the company staff. To be sure, much like other major companies Amazon too has more men than women in India across e-commerce, cloud and other businesses.
"There was a lot of discussion on diversity of talent after one particular question to Agarwal even though he stayed away from direct answers on competition from Walmart or Reliance," one of the people mentioned above said.
According to Amazon's global work force data of 2018, it had over 58% men while close to 42% women as staff. In a managerial role, 27% were women as compared to 73% men. Globally it employed over 20% Asians and about 7% black people, the data showed. Amazon does not disclose country specific data.
Amazon India does have women leaders among senior positions, but Agarwal acknowledged the need of further diversity across different level of seniority in the organisation in India. For instance, Amazon's HR head is Deepti Varma who also heads the same role for Middle East and North Africa. Sweta Gupta, who head the technology for Prime Video globally, sits out of Amazon's Bengaluru office.
"Workforce for the future would be diverse from every perspective – gender, age, background, experience, thought process / perspectives etc. To be able to truly innovate and provide creative solutions to our broad customer base – we need a diverse workforce. We have women leaders who run categories, businesses, technology teams and hold leadership positions at Amazon," said Deepti Varma, director HR -India & Middle East, Amazon, in response to a query from TOI.
The Jeff Bezos-led company has already invested over $5 billion here across commerce, payments and logistics business here. India has also seen major international programme or services like Prime, Amazon Music, Flex, Alexa, and Audible among others being brought to India.