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What Diversity and Inclusion Mean To Life Sciences Candidates

01 March 2021

By Jay Freeman

What Diversity and Inclusion Mean To Life Sciences Candidates

You will spend one entire third of your life at work - that’s a significant chunk of time. 

Naturally, you want to spend that time well, working for a company that makes you and your colleagues feel valued, included, and able to perform and grow; you want to work for an inclusive employer. 

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking at the importance of diversity and inclusion for life sciences companies. But, D&I are important to your career, too, which is why we’re flipping the coin this week. 

Why is D&I crucial for candidates (regardless of your background)? And how can you assess a company’s D&I strategy before joining?

You’re about to find out. 

What do diversity and inclusion mean in the life sciences?

Diversity in the life sciences means a company that employs and works with people of a wide range of traits, backgrounds and experiences. 

If you caught our first blog on driving diversity in the life sciences, you’d know there are two main types of diversity in the workplace:

  1. Acquired diversity - experience-based traits such as economics, education, and employment. 

  2. Inherent diversity - demographic-based traits, such as race, gender, age and sexual orientation. 

Inclusion is the practice of fostering diversity through a culture that allows employees to be themselves and have equal opportunities to perform, excel, and contribute. 

American activist Verna Meyers sums the concepts up perfectly:

“Diversity is being invited to the party…inclusion is being asked to dance.”

The importance of D&I to life sciences candidates

Diversity and inclusion are important for all life sciences candidates, regardless of your acquired or inherent traits. 

The diversity and inclusion practices of a company have been shown to impact:

  • Performance - inclusive workplaces are twice as likely to surpass financial goals.

  • Innovation - diverse workplaces are six times more likely to be innovative. 

  • Happiness - inclusive workplaces have happier employees who are less likely to leave. 

When you join a life sciences company where D&I is an organisational priority, you join a company that’s going places and taking your career with them. 

Tips for assessing a company’s D&I strategy

When looking for a company committed to diversity and inclusion, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does D&I form part of their employer branding?

Companies put their best foot forward during the recruitment process, so anyone with a killer D&I strategy will talk loudly about it or strongly infer it. 

For example, they might refer to themselves as an equal opportunity employer, have a dedicated section on their careers website, or share information about inclusivity-led practices. 

2. What do other people say?

As part of your usual company research, seek third-party information on the company’s D&I practices. 

Tools such as Glassdoor give you anonymous insights into the company’s culture and inclusiveness, while LinkedIn gives you a feel for current levels of diversity. 

You can also do a quick Google and social media search to see if the company has been nominated for relevant awards or achievements and takes part in awareness days and campaigns. 

3. How do they respond to D&I questions at the interview?

An interview is a perfect opportunity to learn more about a company’s D&I strategy and see how passionately and positively they respond to D&I questions. 

Ask about current levels of representation and cultural inclusiveness in the business. 

Ask questions about the future, too. The life sciences industry hasn’t achieved full equality just yet, so find out how they plan to help the industry get there. 

4. Are the company’s policies inclusive?

Company policies are a great way to see whether a company’s D&I claims reflect reality. 

Look for inclusive policies that allow everyone an equal opportunity to contribute, be heard, perform and excel. These include:

  • Practical policies, such as flexible working and naming. 

  • Development policies, such as training and promotions. 

  • Cultural policies, such as CSR and volunteering days. 

5. Is your recruiter diversity-led?

Inclusivity-led recruiters go hand-in-hand with inclusivity-led employers, working with each other to enhance diversity across the organisation.

By partnering with a life sciences recruitment agency committed to D&I, you can be sure that every vacancy put forward comes from an employer with the same commitment. 

For example, at Panda International, we heavily vet our clients to ensure they meet the highest D&I standards. 

6. How do they make you feel?

Finally, an inclusive employer should make you feel welcomed from when your eyes very first touch the job advert through to the onboarding process and beyond - regardless of any acquired or inherent traits. 

First impressions count, especially when it comes to D&I. 

Find the best life sciences vacancies from the companies most committed to D&I by getting in touch with the Panda team today.

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