Diversity and inclusion

We seek to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that provides equal opportunities for all employees and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We do this not only because it is right, but also because it helps to generate new ideas and brings us closer to the diverse perspectives of patients and other stakeholders. We recognize that everyone plays a part in building an inclusive environment, and in 2021, 97% of our employees completed the first global e-training on diversity and inclusion (D&I).



completed D&I training

A key element of our D&I strategy is gender equity, and we made progress in 2021 toward our Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) pledge to achieve gender balance in management and improve pay equity and transparency processes by 2023. The percentage of women in management increased to 46% in 2021 from 45% in 2020.

Based on the latest data available as of December 31, 2020, Novartis has a global median pay gap of –2.3% and a global mean pay gap of +3.3%, compared with –3.1% and +3.6%, respectively, in the prior year. While we acknowledge this percentage is influenced by worldwide workforce demographics, this is significantly ahead of the Bloomberg benchmarks of +19% median and +21% mean for the same period.

In 2021, we achieved external pay transparency in a further 10 countries, including Switzerland and the US, bringing the total to 16 countries. We continue to extend this initiative, through which employees can compare their pay to external benchmarks, and by February 2022 we expect pay transparency to cover more than 50 000 employees across 33 countries.

We have eliminated historical salary data from 80% of global hiring to reduce the risk of gender bias when making job offers. We are taking steps to apply this to every job offer worldwide by 2023.

Novartis was the first global pharmaceutical company to support the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) employees. In 2021, we distributed an updated guide for employees and managers to support employees in gender transitioning. We are working to include coverage for gender dysphoria, the condition in which someone feels a strong desire to change gender, in Novartis company healthcare plans, where possible. We continued our senior sponsorship program for LGBTQI employees with reverse mentoring for participants, including two members of the Executive Committee of Novartis.

We recognize the need to provide an environment where people with disabilities can perform at their best. In 2021, we developed a strategy and solutions to involve them fully in the workplace and ensure they have the same opportunities as everyone at Novartis. This was done in conjunction with external partners, including the International Labor Organization’s Global Business and Disability Network; the Center for Disability and Integration at the University of St. Gallen; and The Valuable 500, a group of global organizations putting disability on their leadership agenda.

Novartis is committed to promoting racial equity both inside and outside the company. In 2021, we announced a 10-year collaboration with 26 historically Black colleges, universities and medical schools in the US to address the causes of disparity in healthcare. For more information, see the section “Deliver transformative innovation.”

We encourage employees with shared interests, experiences and backgrounds to form voluntary communities called Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which give them a forum to network with peers and ensure their perspectives are recognized. There are more than 80 such ERGs at Novartis, including for LGBTQI employees, working parents, employees with disabilities, and other groups.

Our progress in building a diverse and inclusive environment was recognized externally: Novartis was included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the third year in a row.