October 28, 2014 – Female board directors in U.S. & E.U. biotech companies account for only 9.7 percent and 11.2 percent of positions respectively, and only four percent of company chairpersons are female, according to a new gender diversity report, “Diversifying the Outlook – The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership,” published by biotechnology-focused search firm Liftstream Ltd. The research covers 700 companies, with 60 C-level interviews and 530 survey respondents. Analysis of large-cap biotech companies indicated better numbers of female board members (19.2 percent) but in terms of female executive leaders (13.9 percent) it lagged. Unstructured hiring processes and over-reliance on personal networks among predominantly male influencers were identified as underlying causes limiting the opportunities for women in biotech leadership. In Europe, Germany and The Netherlands have the lowest proportion of women in the boardroom (4.1 percent), compared to Scandinavia (15.5 percent) and France (17.4 percent). “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,” said Karl Simpson, CEO of Liftstream.
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