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A research report commissioned by BioPharmaChem Skillnet surveyed over 1,000 employees from 70 different companies, uncovering that diversifying the workforce is a crucial priority for the industry to develop its talent. 

Minister of State Niall Collins revealed the new study on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) in the BioPharmaChem Industry at VLE Therapeutics, a leading vaccine manufacturer in Ireland.  

The industry, which is the largest exporter in Ireland, has identified talent supply as a challenge and is placing significant emphasis on diversifying its workforce. 

Niall Collins TD, Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said: “We are a knowledge-based economy, our people are the key asset that can secure the future success of our Biopharma sector. We must continue to nurture a workforce that is technologically advanced and highly skilled to meet the needs of industry. My department, through Skillnet Ireland are committed to supporting the sector to ensure it has the skilled, talented and diverse workforce.”  

BioPharmaChem Skillnet has outlined specific measures to facilitate workforce development within the industry and attract and retain diverse talent. The industry is committed to initiatives that attract individuals from underrepresented communities. 

Siobhan Dean, Executive, BioPharmaChem Ireland said: “The sector employs over 80,000 people both directly and indirectly. As the sector continues to invest and expand its operations in Ireland, the demand for the right kind of talent will increase. The diversity within the talent pool will be critical to ensure Ireland’s largest exporting industry continues to flourish. We look forward to collaborating with even more companies in 2023 to tackle talent gaps and promote diversity in the sector through innovative approaches.” 

This research will empower the sector’s businesses to devise effective solutions to support diversity and inclusion for both leaders and the broader workforce.  

Aoife O’ Sullivan, Head of Network Development & Innovation, Skillnet Ireland said: “Skillnet Ireland recognises that diversity and inclusion are essential components to develop a successful and thriving talent pipeline. A diverse workforce that values and respects differences can lead to greater innovation, creativity, and productivity. We are proud of the exceptional collaborative efforts showcased by our BioPharmaChem Skillnet, driving diversity and inclusion in the sector. The report’s findings and recommendations will help the industry attract and retain diverse talent and contribute to the competitiveness of businesses within the biopharmachem sector.” 

Key Report Information and Survey Findings  

  • Companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies.  
  • Companies with more than 30 percent women on their executive teams are significantly more likely to outperform those with between 10 and 30 percent women, and these companies in turn are more likely to outperform those with fewer or no women executives. As a result, there is a substantial performance differential—48 percent—between the most and least gender-diverse companies.   
  • Women make up 40% of the workforce in the Biopharma Sector in Ireland.  
  • While there is generally balanced representation at junior and mid-career levels, the balance is not reflected at Senior Leadership Team where women account for only 34% of roles.  

Paul McCabe, Chief Operating Officer, VLE Therapeutics commented: “We have seen over the last number of years that the BioPharmaChem sector is critical to the success of Ireland’s economy. To ensure its continued future success, talent remains one of the major challenges facing the sector. Companies can create the necessary pipeline by attracting, retaining and growing diverse talent. Since 2019, BioPharmaChem Ireland, the sectoral division within Ibec supported by BioPharmaChem Skillnet and the 30% Club Ireland, have established a Diversity & Inclusion working group with the objective of identifying & addressing the actions needed to bridge this gap. Thanks to BPC Skillnet, I am delighted that this report, the 1st in the BioPharmaChem sector in Ireland, is being published. The report outcomes support BPCI’s strategy and I look forward to working with the sector to implement the recommendations.”  

To learn more read the full report ‘Building Action Through Data: BioPharmaChem Skillnet’

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