BIA launched first of its kind Diversity and Inclusion report for UK biotech and life sciences
27 March, London – The importance of building a thriving, diverse workplace is a widely recognised priority across all industries. The first of its kind sector data analysis by the BioIndustry Association (BIA) demonstrates strong inclusivity and an overall level of diversity in talent working within the UK innovative life sciences and biotech sector.
The new state of the nation report, Diversity and Inclusion in UK Biotech, also reveals significant diversity gaps across disciplines, management levels and demographic traits which require action at both a company and sector level. Representation of women drops significantly from senior leadership to C-suite and CEO positions and is far from parity across biomanufacturing, engineering and computational roles. There is also a lack of black employees and even fewer black leaders within the sector.
Based on a research study with over 1,200 employees across 30 self-selected organisations that took part in the data collection effort last year, the report offers a sector-first benchmark on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for the broader life sciences and biotech industry. The companies that participated represent a core BIA membership and a variety of sizes, investment stages and locations across the UK.
Steve Bates OBE, CEO of BIA said: “Thank you to BIA members who have enabled us to bring together this first of its kind measurement of diversity and inclusion across UK-based life science and biotech companies. This report showcases the inclusive nature of our sector and some of the incredible diversity of talent in it. But there is much, much more to do.
"This agenda is one that all UK life science company leaders need to engage with. Diverse teams allow for a wider range of skills and knowledge in an organisation, which leads to more innovative solutions and new ways of thinking. Increasingly investors, employees and potential staff are seeking out companies committed to, and delivering on this agenda. The BIA understands every company will embark on its journey from its unique heritage. I hope this collective snapshot of where peer-like companies stand, helps everyone with a vital sector benchmark, answers initial questions and enables planning routes forward with confidence.
"Sector data presented in this report highlights some key areas of success across UK life sciences and biotech, which should be celebrated. It has also identified areas for change which will require collaboration, effort and commitment. The considered recommendations provide workable next steps at both a company and sector level.
"I, and the whole BIA team, look forward to championing and supporting members making sustainable change."
Carried out in partnership with Diversio and supported by Cooley, the research study provided individual member companies taking part with the specific diversity and inclusion data for their organisation, while allowing employees anonymously share their identities and experiences. Altogether, Diversio collected more than 20,000 data points across demographics, workplace experience metrics and social mobility.
The availability of the right skills in an organisation plays a key role in where investors decide to invest and is therefore central to our competitiveness for investment. Investors are setting high expectations when it comes to diversity and inclusion performance and in the current economic climate meeting these expectations is another piece of gaining that financial commitment.
The report offers key recommendations for the UK life sciences and biotech sector to improve diversity and inclusion as well as guidance to support individual organisations in attracting diverse talent, accessing investment and retaining the skills needed to start, grow and deliver world-changing innovation.
Inclusion scores for workplace safety and workplace flexibility demonstrate secure working environments. The data suggests that the biggest improvement that could be made was targeted career development, and a need for workplace mentors and sponsors to create opportunities and invest in their success.
“Allies, incredible mentors, and female role models have supported me and given me the confidence to advocate for myself, to be heard and to own my opinion. It has been really informative gathering data on both diversity and inclusion across the sector and so important to have the evidence for sustainable change. Who we are and what we contribute is really important.” – Dr Kate Barclay, Skills Consultant, BIA
For the innovative life sciences and biotech sector in the UK to thrive it needs to attract the most talented innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds, access investment to start, scale and grow businesses, and retain talent in a highly competitive market.
The Diversity and Inclusion in UK Biotech report aims to encourage other organisations in the sector to begin tracking their diversity and inclusion objectives as they innovate and scale. The bigger picture can be seen by bringing companies together across the sector and working collaboratively on sustained change. Only through ongoing measurement and goal-setting can the sector begin to sustainably move the needle and meaningfully advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- The BIA Diversity and Inclusion in UK Biotech report is available to read online at diversityinbiotech.org
- Learn more about mapping diversity and inclusion for UK innovative life sciences and join our webinar on Thursday, 30 March at 11 am.
- Participating companies include: Alchemab Therapeutics, Astex, Astrea Bio, Bicycle Therapeutics, C4X Discovery, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, CN Bio, Congenica, CytoSeek, Enara Bio, Kidney Research UK, Life Science Group, NanoSyrinx, Novabiotics, Omass Therapeutics, Ori Biotech, Precision Life, Akamis Bio (formerly PsiOxus), Quell-Tx, RedX Pharma, Relation Therapeutics, Sania Therapeutics, Sixfold, Sosei Heptares, Theolytics, Vaccitech
- The research was powered by Diversio, the people intelligence platform that connects AI technology, sophisticated data analytics and knowledgeable subject matter experts to measure, track and improve DEI. It can accurately diagnose pain points, benchmark against peers, and create a robust action plan to meet your DEI goals. Learn more at diversio.com
- The report is supported by Cooley LLP, BIA Annual Supporter. Learn more about Cooley