Breaking Barriers: Supporting the advancement of women in biotech

Earlier this year, BioTalent Canada announced a new project to help connect and advance women in biotech. The data presented in the 2013 labour market study – Sequencing the Data showed an alarming trend within Canada’s bio-economy; while over 60% of physical and life sciences post-secondary graduates in Canada are women, the number of companies that hire women has decreased by 11.5% in the last five years.

“Skills shortages and access to talent continue to impede the industry, so being able to connect and advance career opportunities for women in the industry will help address these skills gaps so companies can focus on commercial success,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada.

Next month, a needs assessment will be launched as part of the three year project. The needs assessment will ask students, hiring managers, current biotech employees and those seeking employment in biotech to answer a series of questions relating to their experiences and expectations within the industry.

“This assessment will help us identify key challenges women face when integrating into the bio-economy, particularly institutional gaps, as well as supports,” says Henderson. “This is an important step towards developing new initiatives to improve the current statistics, and in turn, strengthen and build relationships for women who want to pursue a career in biotech.”

The project, which is on key clusters in Vancouver, Toronto, and Charlottetown, is garnering industry support from all levels and from across Canada. Through the support of its partners, BioTalent Canada will be able to take the data gathered from the needs assessment and establish key solutions to addressing this gap.

To learn more about the Connecting and Advancing Women in Biotech project visit,



Newsletter Issue:
HR Microscope September 2014