The largest pharma companies have all set themselves ambitious targets in recent years to improve representation for women and minority communities in their businesses, but are they meeting those diversity objectives?
On the whole, yes, says a new study by reputation intelligence and media monitoring specialist alva, which delves through millions of content items across online and traditional media and other source materials to give a score on their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts.
The company uses a scale of -100 to +100 to rank companies – as you’d expect, higher is better – and all of the top 20 pharma companies included in this year’s survey were in positive territory.
Top of the list was Bayer with a score of +67, with a perfect score on an index, which evaluates LGBTQ+ workplace equality, and high marks for resource groups, interactive workshops and investment in supporting others.
However, it was a close run contest, with Gilead and Sanofi just a couple of points adrift and all the top 10 drugmakers scoring above +53. Gilead also scored highly on LGTBQ+ equality, while Sanofi’s launch of a DE&I board and an employee resource group framework also stood in its favour.
At the other end of the table, the worst performers were Astellas (+11), Eli Lilly (+21) and Teva Pharma (+28).
“The likes of Bayer, Gilead and Sanofi are miles ahead in their EDI scorings, and whilst this is great to see them embracing their EDI responsibilities and leading the way, it is also clear that diversity makes good business sense,” commented Siera Torontow, alva’s managing director of healthcare and consumer.
“More diverse companies are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making, which leads to better financial performance,” she added.
Moreover, a sound DE&I policy tends to mean that pharma companies understand the patient voice better, which “informs and drives creativity and innovation in the long run”, according to Torontow.
DE&I also forms part of the broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, which has emerged as a critical yardstick for how consumers and investors view pharma companies.
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