It’s a well-worn cliché that men dominate the top ranks of the biotech industry. But over the past decade a group of extraordinary women has put that cliché to the test. Biotechnology plays a critical role in the well-being of the global society. With the COVID-19 pandemic shining a spotlight on the importance of life sciences, both private and public organizations are providing unprecedented levels of funding and support to companies in the biotech space.
According to the second annual report released by Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) last year, 47% of total employees from the surveyed life science companies were women. The statistics collected regarding upper ranks, however, were much less diverse. Less than a third, or 31%, of executive team members were women, and only 23% were CEOs.
Even more dismal statistics were presented by Bedford Group/TRANSEARCH in its First Annual 2021 Executive Compensation Report regarding the biotechnology industry. The report showed that 14.2% of analyzed board members were female, and only 5.8% of 224 CEOs were female.
There are many advantages of having women leadership in Biotech like enhanced collaboration, improved communication, and better problem-solving. Women have been proven to hold a key advantage when it comes to soft skills and emotional intelligence.
Women leaders are perceived to be more democratic and empathetic. Many adopt a variable leadership style which is often people-oriented, seeking to promote collective decision making, teamwork, and taking responsibility for failures while at the same time motivating colleagues along their pathways to growth. Women bring diversity and different perspectives to the office and also help bridge the gender gap in the workplace. This is well known and documented by experts.
The women who aspire to lead in a biotech must take action. Furthering one’s education is an important step, which can bring new opportunities, insights and connections in the field. Women should also create a comprehensive strategy to maximize their capacity for leadership, focusing on:
- Aligning the strategic direction of the organization with their individual goals
- Developing the strengths needed to be a leader
- Remembering the dynamic nature of health care, which seeks innovative leaders who can boost the bottom line while delivering better care
With a clear strategy in place and a degree that shows their commitment and knowledge, women can break through the traditional roles and achieve greater success in health care leadership.
Women who are looking to further their education to find jobs in Biotech leadership should consider an Executive Master of Health Administration degree. The courses are designed to help students prepare to address pressing industry issues, such as quality of care, allocating health care dollars across generations, controlling costs and ensuring that residents have access to care. The Biotech field needs leaders who understand how care delivery is evolving and transforming to adapt to the technological advancements propelling the industry forward.