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Diversifying The Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership

Diversifying The Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership

Through analysis of 1, 491 biotechnology companies in Europe & US (California and Massachusetts), 60 topic-guided interviews with prominent industry executives and a global survey with over 500 respondents from within the sector. Our research demonstrated that biotechnology leadership is still heavily male-dominated, with 10 men for every woman in biotech boardrooms and over 50% of all biotechs have exclusively male boards.

The research, detailed in this 61- page report, indicated contributing factors for the low number of women in leadership positions included:

  1. The talent pool that feeds the leadership tier has a low proportion of women,
  2. Women are not being selected for leadership positions
  3. Women are turning down opportunities to move into top level management.

All three factors appear to be contributing to the lack of gender diversity in biotech leadership.

The report is highly data driven and includes both European and US analysis of biotech companies as well as exploring the impact that venture capital has on leadership diversity.

  • Germany and The Netherlands have the lowest proportion of women in the boardroom (4.1%), compared to Scandinavia (15.5%) and France (17.4%)
  • Twice as many women in corporate VC compared to traditional VC (18.1% vs 9.6%)

Opportunities for women to move into leadership positions are not materialising as frequently as they are for men: Two influencing factors here are:

  1. The lack of structure in the recruitment and promotion practises of a large number of biotech SMEs.
  2.  The influence of unconscious bias.

The report, downloadable for free, features case studies from leading industry companies: Merck Serono, Biogen Idec, Cubist, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. These companies have shared specific initiatives aimed at improving diversity.  

The report concludes with a number of key recommendations which include:

  • CEOs and chairs must lead the change on gender diversity
  • Recruiters should provide greater advocacy to companies and women on leadership
  • Investors should apply structured process to ensure executive appointments are optimised for diversity

Motivations for the Report

The motivations for this research were three fold: to raise awareness of the gender diversity topic in a way that is relevant to biotech professionals; to survey the landscape of the sector, thus facilitating a conversation informed by data; and, to bring the voice of the sector to the forefront of discussion – understanding what sector influencers believe. The ambition was to develop practicable recommendations relevant and suitable for the sector, and to identify stakeholder groups best positioned to facilitate change. To our knowledge this is the first analysis of its kind: sector-specific, in-depth, and with a geographical reach encompassing Europe and the US. The research has utilised a range of data sources, quantitative and qualitative, and has placed the results within the context of the unique characteristics of biotech.

Contents – Diversifying the outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership

Total number of pages 61

To download the free report please complete the form below and send.


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