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Men still hold 9 out of 10 life science director positions

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New research released Thursday by executive search and leadership consulting firm Epsen Fuller Group shows men continue to go from strength-to-strength in biopharma and medical device boardrooms.

Based on a survey of 423 publicly-held U.S. life Science companies, the authors determined that a whopping 87 percent of the C-suite executives were male. And that dominance extends into the boardroom, with almost nine out of 10 director positions being held by men.

Isn’t that just great?

Obviously not from a gender diversity perspective, which is what the survey and the accompanying visual report are all about. And while it isn’t surprising, it is troubling on a number of fronts. From a purely business standpoint, studies show male-led companies underperform when compared to those with substantial females representation.

“The numbers paint a harsh but clear picture of what is happening in Boards and C-suites today,” said Thomas Fuller, managing partner at Epsen Fuller, in a statement. “What’s worse, this flies in the face of evidence that gender diversity is not a “nice-to-have,” it delivers better results, period.”

Fuller points to a recent Credit Suisse Research Institute study, which found that companies with a senior management team at least 15 percent female had more than 50 percent higher profitability than companies that had women in less than 10 percent of the top jobs.

Shouldn’t that be enough of an incentive?

“I think it should be, and we employ the data with companies we’re in conversation with every day about board placements,” said Michael Rice, a founding partner of LifeSci Advisors and two new industry mentorship programs for women. “People tend to hire who they know because it’s easier, but having diverse perspectives is good for your team and your bottom line. Different viewpoints can challenge the group and make it better.”

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