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Global Diversity & Inclusion

The diversity of our people is the dynamic force driving everything we do.



From fostering innovation through a culture of inclusion that instills a sense of belonging for all, to investing in the creation of a gender-balanced and globally diverse team of passionate and results-oriented leaders, our people represent our greatest asset. They operate at the leading edge of science where medical breakthroughs have the potential to save and improve the lives of millions.

We regard Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) as a key business strategy to inspire, develop and unleash the potential of our people—holding ourselves to the highest standards of accountability for gender parity established by the United Nations—and knowing that progress for women will stall without sustained, proactive intervention.

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to how we operate, how we engage employees, and how we drive competitive advantage to support our mission of developing innovative medicines and vaccines to save and improve lives.

  • We have unparalleled commitment from our CEO and senior leaders, we challenge ourselves to continuously raise the performance bar for GD&I goals, and we approach these goals with a progressive growth mindset—always focused on learning and improving results
  • We understand that true innovation is achieved through the powerful intersection of ideas from employees across a range of diverse backgrounds: age, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, religion, faith and veteran and disability status
  • We resolve to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as evidenced by improvements in the representation of women in our workforce, on the senior management team and in management roles
  • We are proud of the improvements achieved in representation on the senior management team of Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino and Pan-Asian employees and have a plan in place—with dedicated resources—to address areas within which ethnic groups are underrepresented (also known as underrepresented ethnic groups or “UEGs”)
  • We create enterprise-wide engagement for diversity and inclusion through more than 14,000 Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) members, through educational programs to further the career advancement, leadership development and managerial skills of employees, and through external partnerships that advance talent management goals and strengthen our connections to the community

Our Global Diversity & Inclusion Center of Excellence oversees GD&I in all our business practices. We have a clear strategy and plan of action to drive business impact with diversity and inclusion.

“Diversity and inclusion have the ability to transform our culture, drive business results and advance our company’s mission to save and improve lives around the world. When people feel valued and empowered, they are able to innovate and make amazing things happen.”

– Celeste Warren, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion

With this as our focus, we use GD&I best practices and implement our strategy to focus on establishing a strong foundation for diversity and inclusion, fostering internal workforce and workplace excellence, driving external reputation and achieving innovation through business integration. Our GD&I Ambassador Teams ensure integration into our business and people strategies.

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 HR Leadership Team
This cross-functional, cross-divisional group of Human Resources professionals supports GD&I with policies, processes, programs, benefits, work-life integration, compensation, training and business partners to foster greater employee engagement.

Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) Executive Leadership Council
With ten EBRGs representing different constituencies and 14,000 members worldwide, the Council strengthens and diversifies the global leadership pipeline and provides culturally relevant insights that drive our success. The ten EBRGs represented at our company are Women, Veterans, Hispanic/Latino, African Ancestry, Asia Pacific, Native American and Global Indigenous, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Differently-able, Interfaith, Generational. Each EBRG has an executive sponsor—many of whom report directly to the CEO.

GD&I Business Consortium
This consortium enhances our business performance through GD&I best practices—creating a competitive business advantage and driving shareholder value. Members come from Business Strategy, Supplier Diversity, Clinical Trials and other key business functions.

Our leaders believe GD&I drives our business by breaking down barriers and changing minds so we can unleash the powerful potential of our employees. Among the most visible advocates of GD&I is our CEO, Ken Frazier.

Mr. Frazier 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 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

“For more than 70 years now, we have been deeply committed to fostering an inclusive environment that embraces different perspectives and values the contributions of each individual. Having a globally and locally diverse workforce makes us a more innovative and agile company and one better attuned to the needs of our customers, health care providers and patients who ultimately use our products.”

– Ken Frazier, Chairman and CEO

GD&I Experience Month
GD&I Experience Month is our annual, month-long program designed to engage our global employees to highlight the importance of GD&I. This effort, kicked off by our CEO, Ken Frazier, enables 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.


We engage with third-party organizations to advance the efforts of our GD&I commitments:

Deliver for Good Business Ally Network
Together with P&G and civil society organizations, we recently announced the launch of the Deliver for Good Campaign Business Ally Network. The Network will provide a platform for private sector champions to work alongside leading civil society organizations and governments to drive solutions toward a more gender-equal world.

The announcement came during the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women.

Paradigm for Parity® coalition
In July 2018, we became a signatory to Paradigm for Parity®, a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The goal of the coalition is to achieve full gender parity by 2030, with a near-term goal of women holding at least 30 percent of senior roles.

With 49 percent of our company’s workforce represented by women, full gender parity is within our reach. In addition, with 41 percent of our company’s women holding senior management or management roles, we exceed the Paradigm for Parity goal for women in senior positions and intend to continue to focus on this area for ongoing progress.

Some of the major leadership development programs that contribute to our success with gender equity and will be leveraged for future growth include:

Women’s Leadership Program (WLP)
The WLP positions us to increase the gender diversity of leadership by creating a pipeline of high potential mid-manager talent, increasing retention of these women and creating more opportunities for their advancement. The WLP sharpens leadership skills, builds self-awareness, provides organizational navigation skills, increases exposure to senior leaders and creates a sense of community for high potential women.

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.1 The full economic participation of women in the workforce will generate $12T to $28T in GDP.2 For these reasons, we have 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. Through this partnership and in conjunction with our Global Disability Inclusion Strategic Council, we strengthen our ability to maximize the full potential of our workforce and are better positioned to respond to diverse patient needs.

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion
Now entering our third year, Ken Frazier, along with other CEOs, signed a pledge with CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion that outlines a specific set of actions the signatories will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed, employees feel comfortable, and all are empowered to discuss this very important topic.

By signing this pledge, we are demonstrating our commitment to GD&I by:

  • Continuing to make our workplaces trusting environments where all can have complex conversations about diversity and inclusion
  • Expanding unconscious bias education
  • Continuing to share best—and unsuccessful—practices

In 2018, we deepened our commitment to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge in the following ways:

  • We participated in the “Day of Understanding”—a global webcast designed to build a more trusting place to have complex and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion. By encouraging an ongoing dialogue, we are building trust, encouraging compassion and open-mindedness, and reinforcing our commitment to a culture of inclusivity.
  • All employees now participate in Unconscious Bias Education—a program previously reserved for managers within the company.
  • Kenji Yoshino, author and professor at New York University’s School of Law, was invited to host a workshop at our company on “covering.” Professor Yoshino describes covering as the process of hiding a stigmatized identity in the workplace (e.g., sexual orientation or a history of mental illness) and provides research on the impact concealment has on social engagement, interaction and personal value.
PHoto of employees chatting

Inclusion unlocks the power of our people

Diversity is the “measure,” while inclusion is the “mechanism,” by which we engage all employees to contribute to their full potential. Inclusion puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect, and connection—where the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are harnessed to create business value. This is important to us because research shows that diverse teams that work in collaborative environments—where open participation from individuals with diverse ideas is valued—achieve stronger business outcomes.3

In 2018, we developed our own Inclusion Index from the 2018 Employee Opinion Survey. This is an aggregated single percent favorable score of eight existing survey items proposed to measure inclusion. Results from our company’s Inclusion Index indicate a favorable score of 77 percent, up +1 point versus 2016. Although an aggregate score of 77 is favorable, we continually strive to improve the employee experience by creating an environment that reinforces fairness and respect, value, and a sense of belonging.

Throughout 2018, we leveraged a broad range of education programs to foster greater inclusion:

Foundations of Diversity & Inclusion Training
Through this course, available in nine languages, employees learn the foundations of diversity and inclusion and explore why it is important to our company and the broader marketplace. The demand for this course grew rapidly after it was introduced at a GD&I Experience Month and was reinforced through word-of-mouth and other forms of communications. Since the launch of this program in 2017, more than 50 percent of all employees globally have completed this voluntary training.

Inclusive Leaders Executive Development Program
We introduced the Inclusive Leaders Executive Development Program to prepare our leaders with insights, best practices and strategies to successfully lead teams that are more challenging and dynamic than we have seen in the past. The program focuses on what is required to build an inclusive organization in which individuals, regardless of their demographic profile, can realize their potential and contribute to the company’s mission.

Fourteen of our senior executives met over the course of ten months and completed the program. They pledged to:

  • Continue to grow a diverse workforce through attrition hires and opportunity hires
  • Become more strategic and deliberate about how they develop a diverse talent base
  • Develop systemic approaches to leveraging the capabilities of our diverse employees
  • Identify and place the next generation of leaders in roles to drive change
  • Continue engagement with program participants to share learnings, challenges and successes to hone strategies that drive cultural change

Thriving with a Multi-Generational Workforce webcast
This global webcast addresses principles to help promote intergenerational collaboration and provides tips to more effectively work together and leverage the talents of different workforce generations.

Building the Best Teams and Talent
We launched Build the Best Teams and Talent (BBT&T) program. We collaborated with the Neuro-Leadership Institute, an organization that uses hard science to influence leadership effectiveness. BBT&T is a year-long program designed to focus on creating a culture that fosters inclusive behaviors, coaching, high-quality conversations and frequent feedback.

Diversity and inclusion policies

In addition to educational efforts, we have established the following policies to further promote our commitment within our governance structure:

Transgender policy
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.

Preventing Discrimination & Harassment Workplace Policy (PDHWP)
The company updated its 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 United States and Puerto Rico.

Recruiting diverse candidates

We highlight diversity and inclusion through our employer branding efforts, ensuring that the global diversity of our workforce is represented and celebrated across our social media channels, reaching an audience of +1.2 million followers. These efforts are inclusive of individual employee spotlights as well as campaigns focused on a global array of diverse initiatives and celebrations including heritage month celebrations.

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

  • Our candidate selection process includes aspirational diversity recruiting goals and the selection process includes representation of diverse talent on all panels, including women and underrepresented ethnic groups
  • We provide unconscious bias training to recruiters and hiring managers on strategies for the candidate selection and hiring process
  • We utilize a comprehensive communications strategy, including social media and marketing outreach, and nurture strategic alliances to ensure that top prospective candidates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and those from marketing and other important business functions are represented in our recruiting efforts
  • The strategy comprises academic and university relations, participation in targeted job fairs, national advocacy alliances, community outreach, branded communications and external recognition

We collaborate with external organizations in both professional and academic settings to reach the broadest possible base of talent that supports our business goals. Some examples of these organizations include:

G.I. Jobs and Viqtory
For 18+ years, G.I. Jobs magazine has been a leading resource for service people transitioning into the civilian workforce. Each month they distribute 75,000 copies of their publication on 250+ military installations globally and online through a digi-mag and robust social media presence. Their parent company, Viqtory, mobilizes the G.I. Jobs audience, helping employers like ours connect with an audience of U.S. military veterans and service people in transition. Each month we work with Viqtory to advertise job opportunities to targeted segments of their audience through ads and articles in their print and online publications.

Getting Hired
Getting Hired is an industry leader connecting employers to individuals with disabilities, particularly those individuals who are disabled veterans. We collaborate with Getting Hired to advertise job opportunities to their network of people with disabilities online through their job board, via social media and through events like Virtual Career Fairs, which allow job seekers to interact with employers through text or speech-to-text platforms.

Hiring Our Heroes
We collaborate with Hiring Our Heroes, an organization that provides employment opportunities nationwide to veterans. Each branch of the military produces scientists, engineers and doctors, all of whom are aligned with our company’s needs. Each year the company offers an internship through the Corporate Fellow Program, which provides transitioning service members with civilian work experiences to prepare those individuals for smooth transitions into meaningful civilian careers.

Inclusion is key to maximum performance

To ensure that we foster a culture of inclusion we design educational programs and encourage leadership behaviors around perceptions of fairness and respect, value and feeling a sense of belonging. We actively leverage the wealth of knowledge, insights and perspectives of all employees in an open, trusting, non-judgmental workplace—one where everyone feels they are known, valued and respected.

Our “Diversity and Learning Development Catalog” allows for ongoing access to foundational training and programs such as “unconscious bias” and “micro-inequities,” executive seminars, peer coaching, external conferences and more. Examples of our inclusion-focused educational programs include the following:

Foundations of Diversity & Inclusion Training
In this course, employees learn the foundations of diversity and inclusion and explore why D&I is important to our company and the broader marketplace. Since the launch, more than one third of employees globally have taken this training. This training has been translated into our company’s nine core languages.

Unconscious bias education
Using thought leadership related to unconscious bias in the workplace, all company vice presidents and above were introduced to Unconscious bias education (UBE) as an enabler to identify and mitigate hidden biases. In order to cultivate a mindset of conscious inclusion, a UBE toolkit was developed to support managers at all stages of the employee life cycle—from recruiting, to onboarding, to development, retention and promotion. Today, all employees—regardless of level—have access to this education as a strategy to accelerate awareness on UBE and provide solutions to reduce bias in the workplace.

Our company offers employees training options to reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Micro-inequities training helps to create a more fully inclusive work environment by providing employees with an opportunity to learn about and avoid non-inclusive behaviors.

Career advancement and leadership development programs

We invest in career advancement education and provide targeted development offerings for high potential talent and managers.

Women’s Sponsorship Program
The purpose of the Women’s Sponsorship Program is to accelerate the movement and to improve readiness and visibility of women and women of color into positions of greater leadership responsibility. This two-year engagement between the sponsor and protégé is curated to help build the network and personal brand of high potential women leaders and to further their development and career.

The Diverse Leadership Program
We provide an innovative leadership development program focused on strengthening the pipeline of ethnically diverse talent to increase representation in our senior leadership.

MSD Fellowship for Global Health
The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a field-based corporate pro bono program that embeds highly qualified MSD employees into NGOs. The Fellowship is one way that our company is helping answer the global health needs of the underserved.

PHoto of employees chatting, including a woman in a wheelchair

Disability inclusion is a global opportunity

We understand that by creating a culture of inclusion where employees with disabilities can thrive fosters innovation, ideation and drives business outcomes.

Our company’s Global Disability Inclusion Strategic Council has embarked on a five-year strategy encompassing areas such as Information Technology, Facilities, Health & Benefits, Talent Acquisition, Labor Relations, Supplier Diversity and D&I capability building.

To monitor the results of our efforts, the Council meets monthly to discuss the impact the company is having on these areas. We are proud to report several important accomplishments to help leverage disability inclusion as a global business opportunity.

  • To foster an inclusive business culture, the executive sponsor for our capABILITY Network brought together EBRG site-specific chapter leaders and facility managers to mobilize the organization. The capABILITY Network grew in regions around the globe by almost 30 percent.
  • To ensure that all our facilities are accessible for people with disabilities, we implemented facility-accessibility standards that facility managers use when executing new construction or renovation projects.
  • To improve the employment rate of persons with a disability, we launched the first Leadership Development Day with talent from Disability:IN, a national nonprofit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion.
  • We established a goal to enhance the Digital Experience for People with Disabilities and to achieve and maintain compliance across the company.
  • We are a founding partner of the Disability:IN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Mentoring and Development Program. This program helps disability-owned businesses to better connect with corporate supply chains and each other, giving them valuable support, networking and potential business opportunities. Learn more about our supplier diversity program.
  • Our company’s “Mind Well Champions” are tasked with reducing the stigma of mental health within our workplace. To achieve this, they raise awareness that mental health—like physical health—is an important component of overall well-being.
  • Through our association with the International Labor Organization (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network, we have an opportunity to collaborate with other companies to address issues to advance disability inclusivity in the workplace.

Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs)

Our EBRGs represent volunteer organizations of employees for different diversity constituencies aligned around supporting talent acquisition, sharing business insights and enhancing the company’s reputation in external events. EBRGs support the growth of employees—both those new to the organization, as well as existing employees—by affording them development opportunities, networking forums to meet new people and mentoring opportunities. The EBRGs also play an important role in cultivating talent to prepare them for leadership roles. Each EBRG is supported by company leaders who provide counsel, insight and perspective on business plans.

With approximately 14,000 members worldwide, EBRGs represent different constituency groups, including women, veterans, Hispanic/Latinx, African ancestry, Asia-Pacific, Native American and Global Indigenous, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, differently able, interfaith and generational. Membership has grown by approximately 4,000 members in the last year.

Our largest EBRG, The Women’s Network, strives to create a community where women feel a sense of belonging, positively engage with each other and foster an environment where men engage as allies. The Women’s Network empowers members to realize their full professional and personal potential within an environment of networking and mentoring. Programs include Lean In Circles, engaging with male colleagues, providing mentoring support to members, and leveraging external partners such as Working Mother, NAFE, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and The Conferences for Women in Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts and California.

We are proud of the advancements made for all women and yet, recognize that within the U.S. there are opportunities to support the career aspirations of women of color—Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latina and Pan-Asian women. Research shows that women of color experience a heightened awareness of their difference in the workplace, which manifests itself in reduction of their sense of psychological safety and engagement at work.4

Given these challenges, we have invested in several leadership development programs designed for this important population, which is predicted to be the largest segment of women in the U.S. by 20605 and therefore, is a critical source of both current and future talent.

The Diversity Leadership Program addresses the leadership development needs of multicultural leaders—both men and women. Its goal is to develop the pipeline of diverse talent to increase representation in senior leadership. Of last year’s women of color participants, 50 percent were promoted.

In addition, we partner with external programs such as the Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Conference and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) Women’s Professional and Leadership Development Program to support the advancement of women of color in corporate.

To date, more than 52 Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latina and Pan-Asian leaders at our company have participated in these programs. We expect these programs, in addition to support provided by Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs) and participation in The Conferences for Women to have a positive impact on the promotion and retention of top women of color with talent.


GENDER & ETHNICITY2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Women in the workforce48% 48% 48% 48% 49%
Women on the Board17% 21% 23% 23% 23%
Women in executive roles131% 34% 31% 32% 32%
Women on the senior management team231% 34% 36% 39% 41%
Women in management roles337% 38% 39% 40% 41%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups on the Board25% 21% 23% 23% 23%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in executive roles (U.S.)20% 20% 23% 23% 21%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups on the senior management team (U.S.)15% 18% 18% 17% 19%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in the workforce (U.S.)24% 26% 26% 26% 27%
Members of underrepresented ethnic groups in management roles (U.S.)20% 23% 23% 23% 25%
New hires that were female49% 50% 51% 49% 51%
New hires that were members of underrepresented ethnic groups (U.S.)22% 33% 37% 36% 36%
Note: Our company has publicly disclosed EEO-1 information since 1999. Our 2018 data is available at:
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.