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UK Life Sciences 2020 Board and Leadership Diversity


A study by Liftstream of the gender, racial and ethnic diversity on the boards of UK life sciences private and public companies.

The UK life sciences sector is a key industry for the country’s economic growth. This study looks at how the sector is responding to the preferences of employees, investors, government and other stakeholders for increasing gender and racial diversity on boards and in senior management positions.

The report examines 132 companies from the UK, including 70 private companies and 62 public companies.

Key Findings:

  • Women represent just 14.7% of company board directors.
  • With 15.6% women directors, public companies were marginally higher than private companies (14.1%),
  • Women chair the board of directors in less than 2% of companies.
  • Only 9.8% of company CEOs were women.
  • 74% of companies have one director or less who is a woman.
  • The presence of women on the board contributes to more women in the leadership team.
  • Over a quarter of companies have at least 30% of women in their leadership teams.
  • 7.3% of board directors are racial or ethnic minorities.
  • 4 in 10 boards have no women and 7 in 10 have no racial minorities. 
  • Boards with diversity not limiting themselves to gender. 
  • To reach 30% participation of women on boards would take until 2038.

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