Diversity in the pharmaceutical sector – Is the future female?

Leadership Development, Mental Fitness

Unlocking the power of diversity in the pharmaceutical sector to unlock innovation and growth.

We’ve recently explored how we believe that the Pharmaceutical sector has so much potential to lead the way in putting wellbeing and Mental Fitness at the heart of corporate strategy as a powerful foundation for innovation, creativity and growth. We shared our belief that both aligning individuals and teams around social purpose and creating leaders throughout the organisation rather than just at the top are vital elements in driving innovation and growth. 

We’d add another critical element to that list: Unlocking the power of diversity. 

Another area where there are clear signs of significant momentum building in the sector is around changes in the gender balance among senior teams. 

“Recent studies have shown that women in the pharma industry represent 61% of the workforce, which is considerably higher than other industries. However, when looking at leadership in this space, the percentage of female leaders is significantly lower. Less than 10% of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in the Biopharma industry are women, and women make up only 25% of leadership teams in the Pharmaceutical space. However, this is a figure that has undoubtedly improved from previous years”

Jess Hampson, Mantell Associates

The power of diversity in driving innovation, performance and growth is well understood (an understanding increasingly reflected in legislation – this article was published in a week when the EU made a landmark ruling legislating for 40% female representation on corporate boards) 

“A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies. Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services, and new products, and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Today, companies no longer view diversity and inclusion efforts as separate from their other business practices, and recognize that a diverse workforce can differentiate them from their competitors by attracting top talent and capturing new clients.”

Forbes Insights

The challenge in any organisation is how to go beyond an understanding of the power of diversity into actually unleashing its potential by changing processes, practices and structures so that a more diverse range of people can find their way to positions of leadership. 

Once again it is inspiring to see how Pharmaceutical companies are leading the way in putting diversity at the heart of the agenda. 

Parexel have gained significant acclaim and recognition for driving representation and inclusion for women in the workplace and can now proudly claim 50% of VPs and nearly 40% of senior VPs are women.

They’ve done this by taking an active and transformative approach to harnessing diversity. 

This includes 4 key elements 

  • Ensuring buy in and commitment at the most senior C-Suite level
  • Putting diversity and gender parity at the heart of organisational purpose (and encouraging leaders to reflect on alignment with their own purpose
  • Implementing female focused leadership programmes
  • Supporting this with male/female coaching or mentoring programmes to share experience and inspire cross gender support

For us here at Cognomie the parallels between this deliberate and purposeful approach to diversity in the pharmaceutical sector, with the approach required to put Mental fitness at the heart of organisational strategy and growth are stark. Change requires purposeful intervention. And purposeful change drives growth, innovation and creates organisational cultures people want to celebrate and be a part of. 

Want to find out more about how coaching can help pharma and healthcare organisations?

Do you want to have a better understanding of wellbeing and the role it can play in personal and organisational performance in pharma and healthcare organisations? Do you want to learn how your own Mental Fitness can be the framework for understanding how you can develop greater self-awareness and grow in your own capability and resilience?

Or, if you play a role in your organisation’s wellbeing development and that of those who work with you and their Mental Fitness, we’d love to talk.


by | 15 Jul 2022

Explore Cognomie Insights by topic

Interested in a particular topic, then click to discover the latest Cognomie insights.