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Pharma Failing to Improve Gender Diversity in Workforce


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.

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