Pharma Failing to Improve Gender Diversity in Workforce

Published on: 

April 29, 2016.

Life sciences industry executives are concerned they are not doing enough to attract and retain women in their organizations, according to an EY survey on industry-wide gender parity.

Navigating disruption without gender diversity? Think again, reveals that 53% of industry executives admit they are currently underutilizing women within their ranks. And yet, 72% of life sciences executives surveyed agree that having greater gender diversity at all levels of their business improves financial performance.

The survey suggests a looming threat of disruption facing the wider industry, as life sciences companies advance boldly into a digitally driven, patient-centric future.

Seventy-three percent of industry executives admit that dramatic changes are needed in how they attract, retain, engage and promote talent and 90% agree that new leaders and leadership skills will make the difference in adapting to the disruptive changes impacting the sector.


Currently, only 19% of female industry executives and only 16% of male industry executives believe their organizations are effective at retaining women. Only 20% of life sciences companies have "structured, formal" programs to identify and develop women’s careers in leadership within their organizations; even fewer (13%) have an informal program to identify and develop women’s careers in leadership and they have no plans to formalize it. 

A majority of life sciences leaders (63%) expect to see only a slight increase in the proportion of women in senior leadership positions within their organizations over the next five years. Twenty-five percent of executives expect to see no change at all.

See more on the EY report here.