Employees Overview

We recognize that our ability to excel depends on the integrity, knowledge, imagination, skill, diversity and teamwork of our employees.

A positive, inclusive and high-performing work environment is essential for employees to feel welcomed and valued, and to fully achieve their business objectives.

Harnessing the knowledge and insights of a globally diverse workforce requires leadership, a corporate culture of respect and full engagement, and a thoughtful and strategic approach to workplace inclusion and employee development and wellbeing—physical, emotional, social and financial.

Our approach

We value global diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization and strive for inclusiveness in every aspect of work.

We are:

  • Committed to fostering development and rewarding talent
  • Dedicated to diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization
  • Adept at recognizing unique skill sets and nurturing employees’ talents

Throughout 2019, we invested in programs to drive positive cultural and talent changes at our company. Five pillars of our culture are critical for the advancement and success of our strategy:

Culture pillar



We meet the needs of our patients and customers through continuously inventing and pursuing new ideas and the most promising science.


We are dedicated to the highest level of innovation and scientific excellence. Our research is guided by a commitment to improving health and the quality of life. We strive to identify and meet the most critical needs of patients and customers through continuous innovation.


We aspire to improve the health and wellness of people and animals worldwide, and to expand access to our medicines and vaccines.

Diverse and inclusive

We drive a globally diverse and more inclusive workforce for our employees by creating an environment of belonging, engagement, equity, and empowerment to support our mission of developing innovative medicines and vaccines to save and improve lives.

Ethical and high integrity

We are committed to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. We are responsible to our customers, to our competitors, to distributors and suppliers, to shareholders, and to the communities we serve worldwide. In discharging our responsibilities, we do not take professional or ethical shortcuts.

In order to assess the pillars of our culture, we use a three-pronged approach that provides insight into our deeply held beliefs and values, and how those are manifested through our allocation of resources and the actions we take as an organization:

Beliefs and values

Includes our mission, our goals and shared understanding of behaviors and expectations across the organization

Purposeful investments

How the company and employees choose to invest our resources that exemplify our beliefs and values

Decisions and actions

Underlying assumptions that affect how we make decisions and the behaviors we demonstrate in the company

Programs and initiatives

Global diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success and core to future innovation. We foster a culture of inclusion and belonging where all employees feel welcomed and valued, a culture where we regard every individual as a source of competitive advantage in our larger mission of saving and improving lives. Learn more about our global diversity and inclusion efforts.

Compensation and benefits

We recognize that our employees are critical to our mission to save and improve lives. One way in which we do this is to provide a valuable suite of compensation and benefit programs. Our rewards are among the best in the country. In fact, our U.S. benefits program ranks in the top 90th percentile of Fortune 100 companies.1 Learn more about our compensation and benefits.

Employee wellbeing

For over 125 years, our company has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines to address many of the world’s most challenging diseases. We must lead by example. Therefore, we are committed to helping our employees and their families improve their own health and wellbeing. By helping employees and their families to make measurable improvements in their health, we can attract and retain key talent; maximize employee productivity to enable our company to live up to its promise to patients, customers and stakeholders; and keep health costs sustainable for both the company and employees. Learn more about our employee wellbeing efforts.

Engaging employees

We strive to foster employee engagement by promoting a safe, positive, diverse and inclusive work environment that provides numerous opportunities for two-way communication with employees. Learn more about our employee engagement efforts.

Learning and development

As we pursue our goal of becoming the world’s premier research-based biopharmaceutical company, we need to continuously develop our diverse and talented people. They are a clear competitive advantage for us, and their active engagement matters. Learn more about our learning and development efforts.

Employee safety

As a global health care company, we strive to provide a safe and healthy workplace. We seek to eliminate work-related injuries, illnesses and unplanned events from our operations through comprehensive safety programs. Learn more about our employee safety efforts.

1Aon Hewitt 2019 Benefits Index

Performance data

Number of employees (approximate)68,00068,00069,00069,00071,000
Full-time employeesNRNRNRNR69,000
Part-time employeesNRNRNRNR3,000
Number of contingent workersNRNRNRNR23,000
NR: Not Reported

Through acquisitions and product growth, our company continues to experience increases in the employee population with two sources noted.

  1. Driven by product growth, particularly KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), our employee presence in China increased by 11 percent in the past year.
  2. The April 2019 acquisition of Antelliq, resulted in a 28 percent increase in our Animal Health employee population.

Employees by region

Asia Pacific 18.3%, EEMEA 4.5%, EUCAN 29.8%, Latin America 7.4%, Japan 5.0%, U.S. 35.1%
Note: May not total 100% due to rounding
2019 workforce by regionAsia PacificEEMEAEUCANLatin AmericaJapanUS
Number of employees (approximate)13,1203,22621,4135,3293,56325,196
Full-time employees13,0383,20518,8725,3283,46424,972
Part-time employees82212,541199224
Number of contingent workers2,9819837,9301,7301,4327,677