Stronger through inclusion

Championing equality and diversity in the pharmaceutical industry.


Championing equality and diversity in the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical companies, like any other businesses, are driven by financial outcomes – what works best is often defined by cold calculations about market share and bottom-line growth. But unlike many other business sectors, the pharmaceutical industry’s primary purpose is to help individuals, often those in the developing world.

In a global industry whose goal is the health and wellbeing of people from every country, culture and race, every religion, gender and sexuality, it seems to make particularly good sense that business cultures and day to day practices are in tune with the people that they serve, whether that’s in South America, Asia or Africa, or indeed anywhere else in the world.

The desire to be part of a solution that improves quality of lives by facilitating good health and wellness, so that people can rise to the challenges that face them, is a force that drives the pharmaceutical industry forward every day.

Given this, it follows that pharmaceutical companies should want the same altruistic impulse to be evident in their own workplaces, in their workforces and their working cultures. The question then being, how do global pharmaceutical companies mirror their outward drive for wellbeing, to make lives better within their individual companies?

The way to achieve this is by ensuring that workplaces embrace equality and diversity, at every level, from workforce, R&D and in the lab, to management, all the way up to the boardroom.

The value of equality and diversity

The strength that comes with equality and diversity brings a wider range of perspectives that better informs pharmaceutical businesses, in terms of their own culture of inclusivity and how they project who they are and what they stand for out into the world.

Knowledge of different working styles in other cultures, as well as in the pharmaceutical supply chain and distribution network, helps to increase understanding and trust. This leads to increased cohesion within company cultures, across their global networks, because more understanding managers and directors, and a more inclusive workforce, make better leaders and better collaborators. This diversity of thought creates a better working and business environment in which better decisions are made. When an equal and diverse company is inclusive, innovation, productivity and collaboration go up and groupthink begins to recede.

Achieving equality and diversity

It’s important to draw a distinction in the pharmaceutical industry between the idea of equality and diversity as a box ticking exercise, and the authentic desire and motivation to help make the world a better place. To begin to get equality and diversity in the workplace right, requires concrete action and a roadmap of how specific goals will be achieved. 

Monitoring and assessing demographics in the workplace will ensure that employee diversity reflects the society in which a business site is located.

Using employee focus groups and surveys is a sure-fire way to gather information on the challenges facing group members and is a valuable addition to quantitative demographic analysis. 

Supporting education and training within the workforce, and also in local communities, to help drive personal development and skills will open up more opportunities for individuals.    

Investing in these kinds of activities provides a way to nurture and measure equality and diversity. It demonstrates a clear indication that a company’s desire to achieve a high level of equality and diversity has gone beyond mere box ticking to demonstrating evidence-based action. At Central Pharma we are deeply committed to equality and diversity at every level. We encourage personal development for all and create an environment in which our people feel included and motivated to contribute to meaningful work.

Alwyn Smit

“If equality in our organisation didn’t exist, I couldn’t imagine the sheer amount of talent we’d be missing out on.”

Alwyn Smit – CEO Central Pharma

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