Guest Column | April 28, 2017

Gender Diversity Still A Problem In Life Sciences

By Thomas Fuller, CEO & Managing Partner, Epsen Fuller Group

Gender Diversity Still A Problem In Life Sciences

New research reveals the severity of the gender gap in the boardroom and C-suite in pharma, biotech, and medical devices companies. Executive search and leadership consulting firm Epsen Fuller Group|IMD conducted the research, which included 423 publicly held, U.S.-based, life science companies ranging in size from micro-cap to large-cap.

This is an important study in that, while most widely published studies on gender diversity in the corporate world focus only on the Fortune 500, FTSE 100, or other lists of exclusively mega-sized enterprises, Epsen Fuller’s study represents a broad cross-section of company size, as defined by market capitalization, in a specific industry sector.  As some reports show strides are being made, this study clearly identifies there is still a persistent gap in male and female representation on Boards and in C-Suites in the ever-growing life science sector.

Key Findings:

  • Large-cap companies have the strongest showing with 20% female board representation, however still short of the global benchmark of 30% as promoted by such organizations as the 30% Club and 2020 Women on Boards.
  • It falls off dramatically at mid-cap and small cap companies at 13%, and only 8% for micro-cap companies.
  • As an industry, life sciences representation in the Board and C-Suite is far worse than others, indicative of the critical deficiencies of STEM education for women and girls, and should be a resonant call to action.
  • Among the industry’s subsectors, gender representation fairs the worst in the medical device sector with less than 10% female board representation, followed by 11.44% and 12.05% for Big Pharma and BioTech respectively.
  • The C-Suite paints an even bleaker picture.  Whereas Large-cap companies show 20% female representation at the Board level, only 10% of the C-Suite executives are women.

Click here for more information on the study.

Also, see these Life Science Leader articles related to this topic:

Diversity In The Biopharma Boardroom: Moving Past Good Intentions
Women In Bio: Looking Through The Glass Ceiling