Gender minorities, marginalised groups to comprise 25 per cent of Tata Steel workforce: Official

A total of 113 transgender individuals have been onboarded and posted at various locations.
A signboard at a Tata Steel plant.
A signboard at a Tata Steel plant. (File photo | AFP)

JAMSHEDPUR: Tata Steel aims at having a minimum of 25 per cent of its workforce made up of diverse groups, including gender minorities, marginalised communities, persons with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ individuals, within the next few years, a company official said.

It is one of the first companies in the country to roll out a special recruitment drive for transgender talent, having recruited over 100 members from the community for various roles across different locations, the official claimed.

"Continuing this drive, we aim to have 25 per cent of our workforce from diverse groups in the next couple of years," the official said.

A total of 113 transgender individuals have been onboarded and posted at various locations, including manufacturing, operations and maintenance, mining, and services.

These employees are stationed in Noamundi, West Bokaro, Kolkata, Kharagpur, Kalinganagar, and Jamshedpur.

Some of these employees work all three shifts and operate Heavy Earth Moving Machinery (HEMM) at the Noamundi iron ore mine in Jharkhand's West Singhbhum and West Bokaro coal mine in Ramgarh district.

"Tata Steel appreciates the potential of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and has a tremendous organisational focus on it," the official said.

"In line with this, we renewed our commitment and refocused our approach to DE&I in 2015 by setting up MOSAIC - a platform for pioneering initiatives, diversity targets, and employee-friendly policies conceptualised and executed from the apex level," he added.

The official admitted that the initial planning stage was challenging due to inadequate knowledge about the transgender community.

"However, we made a detailed plan and implemented it without any difficulty. To date, we have not received any complaint from either side of the employees since the first batch of transgender individuals was inducted following proper training in 2019," the official said.

On the productivity of these employees compared to the general workforce, he said transgender individuals perform better in some areas.

Jaya Singh Panda, Chief Diversity Officer at Tata Steel, said, "We believe in nurturing a workplace where every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels valued, respected, and empowered. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and continuing this practice is key to long-term success and innovation."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a transgender employee at the company's Jamshedpur plant said, "We feel very safe inside the company as coworkers are friendly, supportive, and cooperative.  The company has also developed infrastructure, including separate toilets for us."

Another trans-female employee from Noamundi lamented that her parents never used to care about whether she ate or came home on time.

"When my father learned about my job at Tata Steel, he did not believe me. He came and stayed with me until I joined. Since then, he calls me every day to check on me," the worker said.

A trans-male employee in Jamshedpur said his job at the company enabled him to support his family and help with his sister's marriage, something he never imagined possible.

Another trans-female employee in Jamshedpur expressed gratitude for the accommodation provided by the company.

"I'm happy that my society has accepted me as an individual," another member of the group added.

A signboard at a Tata Steel plant.
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