The biotechnology sector is considerably under represented by female executives and board directors, according to a new report by Liftstream, a U.K.-based company providing executive recruitment services to the biotechnology sector. The gender diversity report, Diversifying the Outlook—The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership, is a detailed analysis of women leaders in European and U.S. biotech companies.
According to the report, female board directors in U.S. and E.U. biotech (SMEs) account for only 9.7% and 11.2% of positions respectively, and only 4% of company chairpersons are female.
Analysis of large-cap biotech indicated better numbers of female board members (19.2%) but in terms of female executive leaders (13.9%) it lagged SMEs. Unstructured hiring processes and over-reliance on personal networks among predominantly male influencers are identified as underlying causes limiting the opportunities for women in biotech leadership.
Key recommendations include:
Karl Simpson, CEO at Liftstream, said, “The biotech sector faces considerable challenges in meeting its board and executive leadership requirements. However, this detailed research shows that gender inequality remains a significant problem at the top of companies. Our reported data and examination of influencing factors on the appointment of executives, presents evidence which is designed to help accelerate the opportunities for women to secure vital leadership roles in biotechnology. Improving gender diversity will strengthen leadership teams and lead to better business.”