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Massachusetts leads way in search for next generation of biotech leaders

Two months ago, Liftstream had the privilege of holding our 2nd annual diversity conference in Boston with our partner Biogen. The event, as you perhaps know by now, bought together some great leaders from across life sciences, investment and academia to address the challenges associated with diversifying the talent in the boardroom. We looked predominately at the issue through the lens of gender, but with a broader consideration of all types of diversity, including those less apparent to us, such as cognitive diversity.

When discussing boardroom diversity, a key topic consistently aired is the problem of pipeline inadequacies. Simply put, people in senior positions do not feel that the talent pipeline is rich enough to fulfil many of the current day demands. Perhaps they’re right, or perhaps they’re misjudging the talent environment. Some would argue that the talent is there, but the way you look for it imposes limitations. Whichever your perspective, it is certainly true that as it stands today, the almost equal participation of women and men observed at the entry level of life sciences, is not reflected as you climb through the corporate ranks.

But what is causing this gender gap? Well, while there might be many plausible explanations why this might be happening, at Liftstream we look for hard evidence, data, and information that can be used to aid decision making and enact change. We have been doing exactly that in diversity at the board level, and now we’re turning out efforts on the pipeline and the next generation of leaders who will sustain our sector.

To do this, we’re partnering with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) to collect data from multiple sources to eventually pull together the single most comprehensive study of the leadership pipeline in the life sciences sector, anywhere. We have already begun collecting data and have several hundreds of responses. Now we’re looking for further participation from all industry constituents. We’re looking to collect data from individuals currently employed in life sciences at any level as well as the companies from across the sector. Additionally, we request those who might be presently unemployed in the sector as well as professionals who have left the life science sector to join other industries. In each case, the study is completely anonymised and confidential, and so there is nothing to identify your responses.

Take the Massachusetts Life Science Human Capital Pipeline Survey:

Companies might wonder what’s in it for them. Well, the results from the study will be made freely available and the aggregated data will provide a clear opportunity for your company to benchmark its talent or diversity and inclusion strategy. Data we have garnered from the interim analysis has proven very insightful for companies in Massachusetts as they seek to compete in the very dynamic talent market of Boston and Cambridge.

This effort by MassBio to collect rich-data about the leadership talent pipeline will genuinely help shape the future success of the sector in the state of Massachusetts. It is an initiative which has the potential to shape the talent landscape for companies, and significantly enrich our understanding of success drivers for every professional working in the State’s life science sector, whether they are just starting out or reaching the later phase of their career.

We appeal to each person reading this, located in Massachusetts, to respond to the survey. Equally, that you will also send it to friends and colleagues who are currently or have been employed in the sector. And finally, you will proactively push your own employer to engage in the study too.

This study will help MassBio members build a true picture of what is happening at every stage of the leadership pipeline, information which has the power to drive change and to bring continued success to Massachusetts life sciences.

Take the Massachusetts Life Science Human Capital Pipeline Survey:

*Companies can obtain a PDF of the survey for completing offline and secure, confidential and anonymised upload facility. Please email us:

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