More work is needed on diversity and inclusion in biotech. Here's what to do.

January 30, 2020
Today, we released the first annual report measuring diversity and inclusion in the biotech industry, so we're doing another Good Day BIO takeover to dig into it and also give you some real, actionable solutions for making the biotech workforce more representative of…
BIO
Today, we released the first annual report measuring diversity and inclusion in the biotech industry, so we're doing another Good Day BIO takeover to dig into it and also give you some real, actionable solutions for making the biotech workforce more representative of the industry's customers and patients. Here are 841 words, which you can read in 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

We'll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming, including a look at what CVS is doing to lower out-of-pocket costs for patients.
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Much more work is needed to make the biotech industry more inclusive and diverse, especially in terms of race, says our new report, the first of its kind measuring race, ethnicity, and gender diversity and inclusion at biotech companies.

Let’s dig into the numbers—and take a look at steps companies can take today to make their leadership teams in particular more diverse.  

The details: BIO’s new annual report, Measuring Diversity in the Biotech Industry: Building an Inclusive Workforce, is the first comprehensive report on race, ethnicity, and gender diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the industry, with responses from nearly 100 BIO members ranging from large, public companies to small start-ups.

The key finding: While we see a growing commitment to D&I, with 73% of respondents saying their companies’ leaders are committed to D&I, it’s not all rosy—and there’s much more work to be done, particularly on racial and ethnic diversity.

In fact: While many companies have D&I initiatives and are making progress, just 17% have a D&I program in place, while 10% have no D&I activities. In addition, the majority of companies do not have diversity hiring targets or programs to promote and develop women or people of color. 

On gender, things are improving. Companies are getting closer to gender parity, with women accounting for 45% of employees—but the numbers aren’t quite as good at the higher levels, with companies reporting 30% female executives and 18% female board members. 

On race/ethnicity, the numbers are worse. Only 32% of employees overall are people of color, including just 15% of executives and 14% of board members.

In general, smaller and private companies are making greater strides. Pre-revenue and small companies are more likely to have a female CEO, and private companies are more likely than public ones to have a person of color as CEO. In addition, pre-revenue companies are more likely than profitable ones to employ more people of color generally.

Why diversity matters: “You have to be able to think differently to solve a previously unsolved problem,” says Reshma Kewalramani, Chief Medical Officer of BIO member Vertex, which is known for cystic fibrosis medicines. “And in order to do that, in order to have the innovation spirit, the ability to think differently, you need to have a diverse workforce. You have to have people who come from different backgrounds. There is no way to have this innovative, different way of thinking, of solving problems that have never been solved before, if everyone is the same either by background or gender or ethnicity. It’s not a nice to have—it’s an absolute must have.”

 
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Chat with Cheatham: Diversity is critical to discovering the scientific breakthroughs the world needs, and close to 100 BIO members showed their commitment through their participation in the survey. This report will serve as a benchmark by which BIO can measure progress in the journey to greater diversity and more inclusive workforces in the biotech industry. The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) was the perfect partner, with their groundbreaking research and track record of real impact in this space, and we think their D&I maturity curve in particular will help every biotech company—large or small, public or private, pre-revenue or profit-making—go even further. – Cynthia Cheatham, BIO’s Senior Manager, Education

What BIO’s doing: Over the past three years, BIO’s Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has developed practical tools to help members build leadership teams and boards with gender, racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ representation, as well as improve the diversity in our own house, by making the BIO Board and committees more diverse and ensuring greater representation among speakers at our events.

What you can do right now: Read the report and take a hard look at your company’s own representation. And visit www.RightMixMatters.org, where we have tools like HR best practices and BIO Boardlist, which compiles qualified, diverse candidates. (And if you need some fresh ideas for your D&I programs, see pages 17-21 of the report to learn about specific practices other BIO members are implementing.)  

Click here to read our blog post with more information about the study.

Click here to download the full study.

We’re not the only ones looking at gender diversity today:

Want to start improving the racial balance? This psychologist says science and data can help.

Want to learn more about how you can promote diversity and inclusion in the biotech workforce? Visit RightMixMatters.org.

 
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President Trump’s Thursday: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will join the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll and HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Health ADM Brett Giroir for a briefing on drug overdoses, according to Giroir's Twitter. Meanwhile, Trump's heading to Michigan to visit Dana Incorporated, a vehicle equipment supplier, to celebrate USMCA before jetting to Des Moines, Iowa, for a campaign rally.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House and Senate are in session, but who's paying attention to the House? The Senate trial continues. 

 
 
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