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By Sinakho Dhlamini, HR Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute
By Sinakho Dhlamini, HR Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute

How Pfizer UK Supports Diversity and Inclusion on International Women’s Day and Beyond



In Conversation with Dagmar Albers from Pfizer UK

International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 is a day celebrating the many achievements of women while also raising awareness against bias so that we can forge women’s equality. The theme this year is #BreakTheBias and this theme looks to focus attention on some of the biases holding back women in the world with the intention of moving beyond these beliefs.

We turned to Top Employer Pfizer UK to look at what leading organisations are doing to build a more equitable workplace on this day. We had an enlightening discussion with Dagmar Albers, the Diversity and Inclusion lead at Pfizer UK, about what initiatives they have in place to promote equality and gender parity while exploring the specific initiatives aimed at supporting women in the workplace.

At Pfizer they are committed to creating and maintaining a workplace that is diverse, inclusive, creative, and supportive. Their dedication to cultivating this space is founded on courage and equity. Driving excellence and joy. Their promotion of diversity is underlined by the knowledge that diversity enhances innovation, fosters belonging, and boosts business performance. In 2021 Pfizer UK won a prestigious enei Inclusivity Excellence Award for their diversity and inclusion strategy.

As we focus our attention on women in the workplace with International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, we wanted to share some of the highlights of the conversation we had with Pfizer UK.

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Where Does Diversity and Inclusion Sit Within Pfizer’s Strategy?

At Pfizer Diversity and Inclusion is not something that is isolated as a desire within one area of the organisation, it is a priority that touches all aspects of the business from the hiring processes right through to the organisation of their board. At every level of their organisation there is an emphasis on the importance of supporting a diverse and inclusive workspace.

It begins at the highest levels with their Global Diversity and Inclusion Team and trickles down to support from smaller localised diversity and inclusion teams. These teams are focused on creating initiatives that include workshops, programmes aimed at equality efforts (one of the most important of these is aimed at closing the gender pay gap) and other initiatives on local and global levels.

At Pfizer diversity and inclusion efforts are not an afterthought. Their alignment with the overall purpose at the organisation means that they prioritise it in a meaningful and strategic manner. In executing this they have made it a permanent role within their organisation, proving their commitment to the importance of diversity within their organisation.

It all comes down to making their organisation reflect their purpose and their values. One of their aims is to be as diverse as the communities that they serve and as a result they see diversity and inclusion as a key part of their business.

Closing the Gender Pay Gap

One of the major equality focused initiatives that Pfizer UK have prioritised is their commitment to closing the Gender Pay Gap across their organisation. The gender pay gap, is the difference between the average hourly pay for women and men across an organisation. This number is usually expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings, allowing it to function as a high-level overview of a company’s gender pay balance.

The Gender Gap Strategy, which started in 2018, has seen substantial year-on-year progress with the gap narrowing from 15.9% in 2018 to 7.5% in 2021. Their long-term commitment to ensuring equality within their organisation has led to this gap shrinking over time. While this change is remarkable when looking at such a large company, they are not complacent and are dedicated to continuing to embed the diversity that will drive breakthroughs.

How Pfizer UK’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Support Women

At Pfizer there are five key initiatives that strengthen their focus on diversity and inclusion allowing them to continue to drive their core value of equity and enhancements to a culture of inclusion. These equity actions have a positive influence for everyone within Pfizer ensuring that everybody is seen, heard and cared for

These initiatives are:

Ensuring recruitment diversity

  • They aim to achieve a balanced Gender Candidate Slate to help them in attracting a diverse range of talent at all stages of the business, welcoming women, and other underrepresented minorities to apply for roles.

Creating a trusting, flexible workplace

  • They focus on making a workplace that welcomes flexibility so that there is a work life harmony to enable each employee to be their best self at work. This is especially helpful to working women who, especially as they get older, require a lot more flexibility in their work.

Returner Support

  • This support is to ensure that employees returning from a long absence feel supported, engaged and part of the company, regardless of whether that long term absence was due to maternity leave, paternity leave, or shared parental leave, sick leave, or a sabbatical, amongst other things.

Career Progression Support

  • This initiative allows colleagues to find clarity, momentum, and direction to make informed choices in their career. This career progression support is aimed at everyone in the organisation but is something that women often need more assistance with due to biases around gender and work.

Family Friendly Practices

  • Pfizer makes it an important part of their business to support their colleagues at every stage of their family life cycle, while also embracing the knowledge that family is not a one size fits all model and that they need to be open minded in supporting their employees.

Pfizer’s initiatives are not limited to women’s needs, but they address many of the concerns that women in the workplace while allowing everyone, regardless of their gender identity, to benefit from these people centred programmes.

Conclusion

Pfizer don’t see diversity and inclusion as an afterthought in their wider business planning, instead they make it a priority and an important strategic player in their business. As we focus on making the workplace a more equal place for women on International Women’s Day it is important to look at how these diversity efforts affect women. For many organisations Pfizer’s efforts can be used as a source of inspiration.