October 12, 2020

By: Cynthia Isaac

 

Finally, people are paying attention. In the stillness, quiet and anxiety of COVID-19, leaders are being called upon to address immediate needs around systemic racism and inequities in their communities and workplaces. And to do something. Corporate reputation, employee morale and leadership trust is at stake.

 

Unequal care creating unjust outcomes

In my field, the business of healthcare, the stakes are higher, and companies accustomed to focusing on symptoms, treatments and outcomes find themselves called to account for undeniable impacts of systemic injustice on the health of the populations they serve.

I know firsthand that workplaces within the biotechnology, pharma and hospital arenas aren’t as diverse as they need to be. In the biopharma industry, only 15 percent of executives and 12 percent of CEOs are people of color. Only 30 percent of executives and 16 percent of CEOs are women. The PR and communications offices are no better; data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2019 show that the PR industry itself is 89.8 percent white at the management level.

 

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