The Best Way to Approach Gender Inequality in Life Science Recruitment

STEM industries are notorious for their low figures when it comes to female recruitment, and although the life sciences sector’s rates are somewhat better than the average, there is still a lot of work to do in this area.

Typically, women must work harder to prove their ability, and they are still facing bias from their work colleagues, especially when bringing work/life balance into the equation. Since workplace diversity is so important, there is an urgent need to address gender inequality in life science recruitment.

But how do organizations overcome their gender biases? How can they approach inclusivity more effectively?

Using Standardized Criteria

If life science companies use recruitment committees, they can safeguard against the problem of gender bias, since studies have suggested committees are far more resistant. By using standardized criteria as well as clear descriptions, it’s possible to enhance this approach still further.

Experienced recruiters in technical roles often use their own knowledge and expertise to decide who should be hired, but this can allow gender bias to influence the decision, albeit subconsciously. With standardized criteria, it’s possible to ensure the process of recruitment adheres to the set selection data without being waylaid.

If job applicants are given clear information and descriptions about precisely which skills are being sought, this is also helpful. Outlining the necessary qualifications, technical expertise, key responsibilities, and jobs to be done allows candidates to more easily deliver what is being sought so they can boost the chances of succeeding when being measured against the listed criteria. 

Accepting Gender Bias Exists

It’s hard to admit gender bias can still exist in the modern world, particularly when many workplaces are striving to create an accepting and diverse work environment. But there are several forms that gender bias can take and being able to admit that it still exists is a key step.

Companies that reject the idea of gender bias within their organizations are less likely to promote or recruit women in the life science field.

Anonymous CVs

Promoting diversity, inclusiveness and equality is part of all good companies’ policies. But, even if these policies are fully enforced, there can still be unconscious biases. One effective way to approach gender inequality in recruitment is to anonymise CVs.

If gender data and names are removed from CVs, the recruitment team can purely assess applicants on how suitable they are for the job in question.

Willingness to Challenge

The STEM world has already begun to embrace the need to address gender bias within its organizations. So far, certain fields, including that of the life science sector, have seen some success with the steps that they have taken in this direction. But, nevertheless, there is a long way to go, and women are still facing challenges within areas like promotion, recruitment, and, of course, pay gaps.

Willingness to restructure and innovate recruitment processes by including the above strategies can help life science organizations to move ever closer to the elimination of gender bias permanently.