Closing the gender gap: equal pay and balanced workforce

November 4, 2019 | by: Dasslin Corral

For the past years, gender parity gap has been making headlines, and more research from within the life sciences sector highlights not merely the continued presence of the gap, but also the presence of a substantial business case for reducing that gap.

Recent analysis by the World Economic Forum discovers that, at the current rate, gender parity is not proven beneficial at all and it will take 117 years to close this gender gap – which is 38 years longer than the first WEF report in 2014.

Now looking at the pay gap per industry and region from the said study, life sciences companies in the US and EU alone, while stating that they value diversity and are seeking improvement, continue to underperform in establishing diversity into executive positions. Unfortunately,  there are just few and insufficient measures in place to improve the situation.

In most pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical organizations, there is an equal number of men and women coming into the industry at entry-level but do not climb the rank at a consistent rate – resulting to an eminent gender pay gap. And perhaps, what’s more alarming is that they come to leave the industry altogether due to the feeling of unacknowledgement based on such gender gap. 

Gender inequality producing pay gaps

Gender difference remains crucial in measuring pay gaps and monetary bonuses. In Quantum pharmaceutical limited, only 11.6% of female talents receives annual bonus pay, while 15.3% of their male talents enjoys bonus pay in a year.

Adversely, gender pay gap on annual bonuses in Barclay pharmaceuticals limited is favoring their women talents with 65% female employees and 44% male employees earning bonus payments. These data evidently shows that providing bonuses to talents may also be titled in favor of a certain gender. 

Aside from bonuses, the life sciences industry continues to struggle in fully closing the gender pay gap with most companies having distinct imbalance in their senior leadership figures. 

The majority of senior roles are occupied by a single gender only: companies either have more male managers or more female managers, but never an equal statistic for both genders. 

For instance, women hold 40% of the executive position at Johnson & Johnson, as well as in Pfizer. On the other hand, Bayer’s executive team is made up of 92% male talents. 

This career break may lengthen the time it takes for an employee to reach seniority, but the importance of diversity in the workplace should facilitate all staff towards a balanced and equal career regardless of gender. 

In response, life science companies are now resorting to a transparent GPG monitoring.

Mandatory GPG reporting

Companies are addressing GPG issues through a required compulsory gender pay gap reporting for all employers – including those in the life sciences sector – with 250 or more employees in the US and EU. 

As part of the equality amidst diversity initiative of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies, employers are required to take a snapshot of their gender pay gap to monitor salary balance among talents. 

In adherence, businesses are starting to collate relevant information needed for the GPG report to accurately measure and assess progress on tackling the gap. Some of which includes: percentage differences between male and female’s hourly pay, overall pay range, and bonus pays over and during a 12 month period.

Further, businesses can also publish an accompanying narrative justifying the difference in any pay and setting out any action they plan to deal with the gap. 

To sum it up, presented gender pay gap figures demonstrate that life sciences organisations are currently missing out on major opportunities for diversified workplace. However, complying to a regular GPG report provides them with the advantage to establish a diverse yet equal and balanced workforce.