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New Report Outlines Women’s Experiences of Gender Bias in Canada’s Biotechnology Sector

Media Release, October 30, Ottawa -

A report released by BioTalent Canada outlines the results of a national survey of women in the biotech sector and reveals the challenges they often face, including gender bias in pursuing careers in Canada’s Bio-economy. The national survey and report formed part of BioTalent Canada’s project “Connecting and Advancing Women in the Bio-economy” funded in part by the federal department of Status of Women Canada.

BioTalent Canada presented the key findings of the report: Moving Beyond the Boundaries: Connecting and Advancing Women in Biotechnology during National Biotechnology Week, October 30 – November 6.

Emerging from the national survey are three key findings:

  • Women want to work in the bio-economy, and when they do, they are regarded as vital contributors to companies’ technological and business success.
  • Gender bias has a real and discernible negative effect on women in the bio-economy workforce.
  • Concrete steps can be taken by the sector to make it even more welcoming and supportive of women’s success.

Among the concrete steps listed in the national report that employers should consider in ensuring their workplaces continue to welcome women are the following:

  • Consideration of work/life balance issues, especially for young women.
  • Awareness of the existence of gender bias within the company.
  • Availability of a structured support network for women in the company.

In its labour market report for new graduates entering the biotechnology industry: Opening The Door, released earlier this year, BioTalent Canada’s compensation survey results indicated that the average annual salary for female participants in a national wage subsidy program was $6,728 less than male participants, demonstrating a potential gender-based salary gap.

“Clearly, the results of this survey and our other labour market reports indicate more work has to be done,” said Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “If biotech companies want to remain competitive and ensure they position themselves as employers of choice for women, who make significant contributions to innovation, then their attitudes and HR programs must evolve,” he said.

The national project undertaken by BioTalent Canada and funded in part by Status of Women Canada stemmed from a disturbing statistic within the organization’s 2013 labour market report: Sequencing the Data, which revealed that in 2013, 59% of the graduates of post-secondary biotechnology programs were women, but employment of women within the sector had fallen by 11% since 2008.

The report was also sponsored by:

PEI BioAlliance
LifeSciences BC
BioMedica Diagnostics

To view or download a copy of the full report

About BioTalent Canada

BioTalent Canada is the HR partner of Canada’s bio-economy. As an HR expert and national non-profit organization, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada’s bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research, and product development, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information, and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada’s biotech business. For more information, please visit biotalent.ca.

New Report Outlines Women’s Experiences of Gender Bias in Canada’s Biotechnology Sector

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