BioPharma Sector Boosting Diversity, STEM Talent Opportunities

The biopharmaceutical industry has its sights set on establishing workforces that represent broader diversity, particularly for women and minority groups. As it stands, Hispanic and Black employees only constitute a small portion of the pharmaceutical labor force, at 18% and 13% respectively. Moreover, those two groups individually make up less than 10% of all STEM roles in the sector. Women occupy about 47% of pharmaceutical positions but a mere 26% of them have STEM designations. Based on this research from trade group PhRMA, reaching an agreeable representation quota will surely be an uphill battle for these companies, but the fight has been ongoing.

One of the first steps in the process has been combing through employee and hiring data to target diversity opportunities, which includes expanding the parameters for STEM career track consideration. As these companies put their money where their mouth is by allocating resources to the cause, staff can expect to see more employee support initiatives and professional development incentives. No-brainer adjustments, like engaging in exclusive deals with suppliers of color and tapping employees from marginalized groups for leadership positions, have in many cases been in motion since at least mid-2020 according to PhRMA’s reporting.

S&P Global has given biopharmaceutical companies a middling score of 54 for gender diversity by logging feedback from ESG questionnaires. Annual reports from Johnson & Johnson showed some evidence of improvement: women working full-time for the company have received a noticeable bump in positions of power from 2019 to 2020. The placing of women in executive roles has risen from 14% to 27%, and board of directors seat assignments show a shift from 29% to 36%. J&J has pledged to have half of its management positions filled by women by 2025, in addition to its racial/ethnic diversity and Black leadership goals.