Global Diversity & Inclusion

For nearly 80 years, our company has been committed to diversity and inclusion as a source of competitive advantage and as a transformational strategy to drive change.

Highlights
  • Recognized in the Bloomberg 2020 Gender Equality Index as a company that scored above a globally established threshold on gender parity across four distinct areas: company statistics, policies, community engagement, products, and services
  • Signed on as a supporter of the Valuable 500, a business-to-business initiative catalyzing the influence of large private sector corporations doing business in national and international markets
  • Signed the One Mind at Work Charter pledging to make mental health a priority by protecting, supporting and enhancing employee wellbeing in the workplace
  • Became a Year Up corporate partner to help close the opportunity divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education
Our commitments
  • We remain committed to equity across gender, race and ethnicity as a strategy to drive business results and advance our mission
  • We continue to establish leadership programs to promote equality and publicly report on our progress to achieve gender equality

Technology provides unprecedented access to information and enables many patients to make better, informed health care decisions. Despite this, some patient groups—especially diverse populations—experience greater health care disparities, lower health literacy and are disproportionately impacted by chronic illnesses. By cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce that is gender-balanced and richly represented across race, ethnicity, faith, disability, veteran and LGBT status, we promote the discovery of the broadest range of possible medical solutions to address the needs of all patients.

We empower our people to drive business performance and we elevate the next generation of leaders—gender balanced and globally diverse—to solve complex business problems that support our patients’ needs.

Through Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) industry-leading best practices, we surround our highly coveted employees with an inclusive environment enriched through psychological safety, empowerment, principles of belonging and empathy. Employees feel valued and respected and know that they are critical to business performance.

By leveraging the strength of our diverse employee talent throughout the enterprise in a holistic manner, we drive greater synergy and impact throughout the lifeline of each business unit. This produces a ripple effect with powerful outcomes, such as advances in diversity in clinical trials, strong customer relationships, enhanced commercialization strategies, drug discovery and development practices, corporate reputation and trust, and shareholder value.

“Our Global Diversity & Inclusion mission is to compel a more globally diverse and more inclusive workforce for our employees by creating an environment of belonging, engagement, equity, and empowerment so that we can ensure patients experience ultimate health outcomes.”

Celeste Warren Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion
Awards and recognition

We are proud of the recognition we have received from the following organizations for excellence in diversity and inclusion:

  • Corporate Equality Index (HRC)
  • Disability Equality Index (Disability:IN)
  • Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index
  • Gender Equality Index
  • GI Jobs Military Friendly Employer
  • HRC 2020 Corporate Equality Index: Received 100% Score and rating as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality”
  • Leading Disability Employer (NOD)
  • Military Spouse Employer Award
  • Military Times Best for Vets
  • National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)
  • US Veteran Magazine Best for Vets
  • Working Mother Best Company for Dads
  • Working Mother Top 100

For more information on our other awards, please visit our Awards & Recognition page.

Our approach

Our company’s business objectives for diversity and inclusion are fully aligned to drive long-term, sustainable business performance.

In addition, our objectives are aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards for diversity and equal opportunity and with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of advancing gender equality, providing work and economic growth, reducing inequalities within and among countries and strengthening global partnerships.

Our GD&I strategic framework focuses on the following priorities:

  • Strengthen the foundational elements of diversity
  • Ensure accountability to drive an inclusive culture
  • Continue to leverage diversity and inclusion to ensure business value
  • Transform the environment, culture, and business landscape

Governance

Our commitment to GD&I begins in the Boardroom and is reinforced by our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Our Board of Directors has a clearly stated Diversity Policy, which recognizes that maintaining a truly diverse membership, including educational and professional background, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnic and national background and other differentiating personal characteristics promotes inclusiveness, enhances the Board’s deliberations, and contributes to the Board’s overall effectiveness to better represent the long-term interests of the Company and its shareholders. Learn more about our Board of Directors.

Our company’s CEO publicly advocates for diversity and inclusion as a strategic business imperative through the following commitments:

  • Approving diversity metrics and reviewing progress against aspirational talent goals for women and under-represented ethnic groups (UEGs)
  • Driving accountability through meetings with the company’s leaders to review key strategic initiatives centered on GD&I
  • Conferring with the company’s Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer on innovation opportunities and business solutions
  • Participating in company-wide events, town halls and fireside chats that provide platforms for sharing leadership perspectives and for energizing and building engagement among employees around the importance of diversity and inclusion

“Throughout our history, we have fostered a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture that embraces different perspectives and values the contributions of each individual. Our long-standing commitment makes us a more innovative and agile company–one better attuned to the needs of our patients, our customers and the health care providers who ultimately use our products.”

Kenneth C. FrazierChairman and CEO

Our GD&I Center of Excellence (CoE) oversees diversity and inclusion across all business practices. We deploy five diversity ambassador teams to ensure integration into our business and people strategies. These teams are as follows:

The Global Disability Inclusion Strategic Council
The Council recognizes and values the importance of a disability-confident workforce and understands how full inclusion of people with disabilities increases creativity and innovation for its employees, customers, external partners and suppliers.

The GD&I Extended Human Resources Leadership Team
This group of Human Resources professionals supports the global organization by ensuring the successful adoption and integration of diversity and inclusion capabilities into all practices, procedure and systems. A key outcome is to enable a diverse & inclusive culture—one that attracts, engages, develops, motivates and retains top talent globally.

Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) Executive Leadership Council
With ten EBRGs representing different constituencies and 19,000 members worldwide, the Council strengthens and diversifies the global leadership pipeline and provides culturally relevant insights that drive our success.

GD&I Business Consortium
This Consortium, comprised of members from Business Strategy, Supplier Diversity, Clinical Trials and other key business functions, enhances our business performance through GD&I best practices—creating a competitive business advantage and driving shareholder value. Our company’ s Chief Finance Officer acts as the Consortium’s executive sponsor.

GD&I Line Advisory Council
Serving as an advisory role to the Vice President, GD&I CoE, the Council provides input and feedback on the GD&I strategy and key initiatives and offers perspectives on areas of progress, as well as opportunity, in relation to integrating GD&I into the company’s business and people strategies.

Our company has made meaningful commitments to diversity and inclusion and pledges support to the following organizations:

United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles

In 2009, we signed onto the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. These principles reflect seven areas of focus designed to promote gender equality in business. Research shows that at the current rate of progress, it will take 202 years for women to achieve economic parity. The full economic participation of women in the workforce will generate $12 trillion to $28 trillion in GDP. For these reasons, we remain committed to gender equality as a strategy to drive business results and advance our mission. We continue to establish leadership programs to promote equality and publicly report on our progress to achieve gender equality.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN)

We are a member of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network, a partnership of multinational companies, national employers’ organizations, business networks and advocacy groups working in collaboration to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace. We believe that disability-inclusive companies provide a better workplace for all their employees. We strengthen our ability to maximize the full potential of our workforce and we are better positioned to respond to diverse patient needs through this partnership.

One Mind at Work—Mental Health

Our company’s CEO signed the One Mind at Work Charter pledging to make mental health a priority by protecting, supporting and enhancing employee wellbeing in the workplace.

CEO ACT!ON for Diversity and Inclusion®

Our company’s CEO signed a pledge outlining a specific set of actions to cultivate a trusting environment where employee ideas are welcomed, employees feel comfortable and safe, and all are empowered to advance work in D&I. Because of this commitment, the company has rolled out Unconscious Bias education to all 70,000 employees worldwide and has participated in several closed-door sessions with other CEOs and Chief Diversity Officers to engage in dialog to drive meaningful change.

In addition, we establish clear, measurable goals with our leaders and throughout the business enterprise in the following areas.

A commitment to fair and equitable pay is longstanding

Pay equity across gender, race and ethnicity is a very important principle at our company and we continuously monitor and evaluate our pay practices and policies to ensure that we are paying equitably.

We approach the issues of pay equity holistically through in-depth analysis of employee compensation as well as analysis of our pay practices. We also promote awareness and education of people managers to prevent unconscious bias in our pay practices. We chartered a Pay Equity Council which is chaired by our Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and our SVP of Global Compensation and Benefits and is comprised of leaders across GD&I, Compensation and Benefits, and Employment Legal.

We will continue our focus on pay equity in the future. By doing so, we believe it furthers our goal of being the employer of choice for employees of diverse backgrounds, supports our efforts to attract and retain the best talent and supports our efforts to reward performance consistent with our Leadership Standards.

Women and Under-represented Ethnic Group (UEG) representation

Leaders and managers have clear diversity and inclusion goals included as part of their annual performance reviews. In addition, we utilize specific, time-bound action plans with targets to increase the representation of women globally and UEGs in the U.S. leadership positions. We have diversity metrics and review progress against aspirational talent goals for women and UEGs at the most senior levels of the organization.

Fostering a culture of inclusion

Leaders and managers are held accountable for maintaining an inclusive culture across the business enterprise. We acknowledge those who excel in demonstrating inclusive behavior through the company’s INSPIRE Awards. Launched in 2019, INSPIRE fosters a culture of recognition and engagement by empowering all employees to recognize others. By the end of 2019, INSPIRE recorded 359,000 recognition moments across 85 countries. Learn more about how we engage with employees.

U.S. clinical operations

We have set goals to ensure appropriate diversity representation of patients participating in clinical trials in relevant therapeutic areas. Learn more about our commitment to diversity in clinical trials.

Health literacy

Our company made significant improvements in reducing health care disparities and improving health literacy among patients, globally. Learn more about our commitment to addressing health literacy.

Programs and initiatives

Building a representative and inclusive workforce

We are proactive and intentional about diversity hiring and development programs to advance talent, and we continue to align company benefits with the needs of a globally diverse workforce, educating managers on the benefits and application of work life benefits for their teams.

Recruiting diverse talent

We use a comprehensive approach to ensure recruiting, retention and leadership development goals are systematically executed throughout our company and that we hire talented next generation leaders to achieve gender parity and representation across all dimensions of diversity.

Our candidate selection process is inclusive of diversity recruiting goals and the selection process includes representation of qualified diversity talent on all panels, including women and UEGs. We provide training to managers and external recruiting organizations on strategies to mitigate unconscious bias in the candidate selection and hiring process. In addition, we utilize a comprehensive communications strategy, marketing outreach, social media and strategic alliance partnerships to reach a broad pool of talent in our critical business areas.

Among the partnership we have in place, are:

  • Getting Hired
  • G.I. Jobs and Viqtory
  • Hiring Our Heroes
  • National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
  • Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM)
  • The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • The Association for Latino Professional for America (ALPFA)
  • The Grace Hopper Organization
  • The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) Women’s Professional and Leadership Development

Disability inclusion

We understand that patients are increasingly diverse and are inclusive of one of the largest global under-served populations—people with disabilities. We are proud to stand by the mission of the Valuable 500 and are passionate about creating a future where all members of the workforce are empowered to contribute their full potential and experience greater satisfaction in achieving our company goals through the diverse perspectives they bring and across all dimensions of ability–both apparent and non-apparent disabilities.

We believe the potential for greatness among people with disabilities is limitless. We reinforce this potential through a culture of transparency and accountability and use a strategic roadmap with high performance standards to achieve meaningful business results. We foster a culture of belonging, equity, empowerment and engagement so that every employee feels welcomed and valued. We regard every individual as a source of competitive advantage in our larger mission of saving and improving lives.

Through storytelling, we have empowered colleagues with visible and non-visible disabilities to share their personal stories and create an environment where others feel safe to do the same. To reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers in the hiring of people with disabilities, we have put mechanisms in place to broaden the feeder pool of strong talent.

We use a three-prong approach focused on direct hiring, indirect hiring and supplier diversity engagements. On the supplier side, we have implemented an inclusion rider, mandating they make a goodwill effort to hire individuals with disabilities to work on our accounts. This has proven to be extremely successful at both the intern and full-time levels in the U.S.; we have plans to expand globally to the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of indirect hiring, we have been building relationships with Disability Services on campus to offer their students mentorship and job opportunities. This outreach has been instrumental in enhancing our brand awareness and opening up a line of communication between our company, Disability Services faculty, and the students.

Lastly, in terms of direct hiring, we are very proud of the fact that we have achieved an 86 percent increase in the recruitment of professional level talent. The importance of disability inclusion has been elevated to a strategic priority, with funding, resources and a long-term commitment to driving business results among people with disabilities. We have experienced consistent growth in achieving goals related to recruitment, retention, environmental, and technology through the focus, dedication and leadership of the company’s Global Disability Inclusion Strategic Council.

GD&I Experience Month

GD&I Experience Month is an annual, month-long program designed to engage our global employees to highlight the importance of GD&I. Experience Month drives the company’s business performance, builds diversity and inclusion capabilities among the workforce and creates a platform for employees around the world to share stories about how they experience diversity and inclusion. In 2019, employees from 68 countries participated in a global webcast to kick-off GD&I Experience Month.

Uncovering talent: a new model of inclusion training

This training addresses the concept of “covering,” an important issue that impacts employees at all levels of the organization. Covering occurs when an individual downplays a part of themselves to blend into the mainstream. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, 61 percent of all employees “cover” their identities in some way. Creating an inclusive work environment that enables employees to feel comfortable being themselves can impact performance. Energy spent covering who you are takes away from energy that is needed to deliver business results.

Unconscious bias education for all employees

We are deeply committed to fostering an inclusive environment that embraces different perspectives and values the contributions of each individual. This program, previously available only to executives and managers, but now open to all employees, reinforces our belief that there is strength in differences. Through this training, we can build awareness of what unconscious bias is and what we can do to mitigate hidden bias in the workplace.

Engaging in bold, inclusive conversations

We recognize that there are polarizing events that happen externally in society, which may influence how our employees feel when they enter the workplace. Left unaddressed, these issues may affect the ability of our employees to perform at their best and contribute to their full potential. In 2018, we launched a program to create an environment of psychological safety where Human Resources professionals can voluntarily come together and talk about issues of concern outside the workplace. In 2020, we plan to expand the program to make it available to Human Resources Business Partners, Managers and employee groups on a voluntary basis.

Preventing harassment and discrimination

This training focuses our expectations of behavior in the workplace toward fellow colleagues. This course helps employees recognize situations that may involve harassment or discrimination and identify what to do should you experience or witness such situations in the workplace.

Foundation of diversity and inclusion training

Through this course, available in nine languages, employees learn the foundation of diversity and inclusion and explore why it is important to our company and the broader marketplace. Since the launch of this program in 2017, more than 60 percent of all employees globally have completed this training.

Transgender inclusion in the workplace policy (U.S. & Puerto Rico)

This policy is designed to support our Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy and to help ensure a safe and productive workplace environment for all employees. It ensures the safety, comfort and healthy development of transgender or gender non-conforming employees while maximizing the employee’s workplace integration and minimizing stigmatization of the employee. Guidelines concerning names/pronouns, restroom and locker room accessibility, dress code, discrimination and harassment are covered in this policy.

Preventing discrimination and harassment workplace policy (PDHWP)

We updated this policy to include language reflecting workplace bullying and to provide procedures for reporting such incidences. The term “bullying” includes, but is not limited to, any form of harassment or intimidation, and is not limited solely to actions based upon a legally protected personal or group characteristic. The PDHWP training is an online mandatory course for people managers and employees based in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Ensure accountability to drive an inclusive culture

Leaders and managers are held accountable for maintaining an inclusive culture throughout the company. Senior managers have diversity and inclusion goals included as part of their annual performance reviews. In addition, we utilize specific, time-bound action plans with targets to increase the representation of women in leadership positions.

Programs to support the advancement of women and UEGs

We leverage several innovative programs to accelerate the leadership development of women and under-represented ethnic groups.

Women’s Leadership Program (WLP)
The WLP is a global nomination program designed to support the advancement of women into senior leadership ranks. Areas of focus include strengthening the ability to navigate within the organization; gaining skills and knowledge to grow and improve leadership capacity; and increasing the ability to manage gender differences and any subtle “micro-inequities” that may exist in the culture. The program also increases exposure to senior leaders and creates a sense of community for high-potential women. Importantly, alumnae from the WLP have gathered at an annual conference for the past three years. The third Annual Women’s Leadership Alumnae Conference was held in 2019, with upwards of 700 senior women in attendance. It provided an important opportunity for women leaders to build relationships, network and support each other as they advance in their careers.

Emerging Women’s Leadership Conference (EWLC)
In 2018, our company piloted the EWLC for emerging talent. This two-and-one-half day conference was designed to promote foundational concepts of career readiness, such as understanding how to build your brand, the value of networking—what it is and what it is not—and developing a leadership style that is authentic and personal. The conference empowered participants with the capability to strengthen their brand through personal reflection, practice and outward understanding of what others see.

Women in manufacturing management
We have a continued commitment to increase the number of women in manufacturing management and leadership. We strive to be best in class—outpacing market availability by creating a culture where women continue to accelerate in areas where they have historically been underrepresented.

Diversity Leadership Program (DLP)
Now entering its third year, the DLP is an interactive leadership journey that is designed to create a safe place where participants can hone their leadership skills while exploring what it means to be a Leader of Color within the company. While building leadership proficiency, participants will also investigate the similarities and differences of leaders from other racial/ethnic groups. Finally, they will have the opportunity to deepen relationships with their sponsors and mentors through experiential activities and conversations.

Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs)

With more than 19,000 members across 10 constituency groups, EBRGs play a critical role in driving an inclusive culture and supporting the career growth of employees.

Member involvement provides exposure and visibility to senior management across the organization and provides the opportunity to build networks and relationships with colleagues, customers and with key influencers in the external community.

EBRGs also support efforts to reduce health care disparities among diverse populations, increase health literacy, advance diversity in clinical trials, support talent acquisition objectives for diverse candidates and enhance corporate reputation through community activation. EBRGs represent different constituency groups, including women, veterans, Hispanic/Latino, African ancestry, Asia-Pacific, Native American and Global Indigenous, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, differently able, interfaith and generational.

Compensation, benefits, work/life flexibility

We offer comprehensive policies and programs to support families and individuals with work/life flexibility, including fertility benefits, transgender fertility coverage, lactation programs, paid parental time off, and health and mental wellness programs. These programs are critical to providing support to women as they advance in position and responsibility, and to other members of the employee population for greater work-life flexibility.

Diversity and business value

We create competitive advantage by leveraging diversity and inclusion to drive business performance. This includes global supplier diversity, integrating diversity & inclusion into our commercialization strategies and leveraging employee insights to drive performance.

Delivering Real Insights via Employee Networks (D.R.I.V.E.N.)

We leverage the business insights of our employees via D.R.I.V.E.N. to support our company’s business objectives. More than 2,000 employees participate in this program and drive business impact through efforts such as advancing clinical trials in key therapeutic areas. Specifically, D.R.I.V.E.N. affords perspective to testing the usability of technology in clinical trials and provides true empathy to the patient and caregiver experience, enhancing our ability to develop products and services for ultimate health outcomes.

Diversity in clinical trials

Working with our clinical operations and patient engagement leaders, we have set goals to ensure appropriate diversity representation of patients participating in clinical trials in relevant therapeutic areas. Learn more about our commitment to diversity in clinical trials.

Civic engagement

Our company actively encourages and supports civic engagement, which means working to make a positive difference in one’s communities. Through programs like our company’s volunteer program we encourage and support employee civic engagement.

Partnership spotlight

We have relationships and partnerships with organizations to support our Diversity & Inclusion strategy and lever partnerships to support talent development and develop and support initiatives in diverse communities where we live and work. Learn more about our work with communities.

Working in partnerships with others, including:
  • ASCEND: Pan-Asian Leaders
  • DISABILITY:IN
  • Catalyst
  • Executive Leadership Council
  • Healthcare Businesswomen’s Alliance
  • Hiring Our Heroes
  • INROADS
  • National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
  • National Urban League (NUL)
  • Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM)
  • Tanenbaum
  • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
  • The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • The Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)
  • The Conferences for Women
  • The Grace Hopper Organization
  • The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) Women’s Professional and Leadership Development
  • UNIDOS
  • Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP)

Performance data

Gender and ethnicity20152016201720182019
Women in the workforce48%48%48%49%49%
Women in the workforce in the U.S.NRNRNRNR50%
Employee base that is multi-cultural women (U.S.)NRNRNRNR15%
Women on the Board21%23%23%23%25%
Women in executive roles134%31%32%32%36%
Women on the senior management team234%36%39%41%43%
Women in management roles338%39%40%41%43%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups on the Board21%23%23%23%25%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in executive roles (U.S.)20%23%23%21%26%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups on the senior management team (U.S.)18%18%17%19%21%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in the workforce (U.S.)26%26%26%27%29%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in management roles (U.S.)23%23%23%25%27%
New hires that were female50%51%49%51%50%
New hires that were members of underrepresented ethnic groups (U.S.)33%37%36%36%33%
Note: Our company has publicly disclosed EEO-1 information since 1999. Our 2020 data is available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/msd20-assets/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/23155813/2020EEO-1Diversity-Brochure1.pdf.
NR: Not Reported.
1 “Executive” is defined as the chief executive officer and two structural levels below.
2 “Senior management team” is defined as the fourth structural level below the CEO.
3 “Management role” is defined as all other managers with direct reports not reflected in notes 1 or 2.