Unleash the power of our people

Our people bring our purpose to life. We are transforming our culture to empower each employee to be inspired by our purpose and drive innovation. We are creating an environment that supports diversity and the freedom to be our authentic selves, while providing the flexibility to deliver our best work.

2021 highlights

78

Employee engagement score
(out of 100) in Q4, 5 points higher than the industry benchmark

16 000

Employees using a digital awareness hub
to enhance their skills in data science, AI and other areas

80%

Of global hiring
with no historical salary data to reduce the risk of gender bias

5 000

Leaders taking part
in the Unbossed Leadership Development program

In this section

Evolving ways of working In a changing working environment, we are giving employees and teams the flexibility to optimize their performance.

Learning and development We promote a culture of curiosity and unbossed leadership to help drive innovation and performance.

Diversity and inclusion We continue to build an environment that provides equal opportunities for all employees and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Supporting and protecting our employees Novartis provides a range of benefits, including paid parental leave. We also continue to protect our employees amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Engagement and volunteering Thousands of Novartis employees participated in volunteering programs in 2021, ranging from on-the-ground projects to virtual volunteering.

Our employees are critical to fulfilling our purpose of reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. We depend on the skills and creativity of our people to develop and produce new medicines, and deliver them to patients. Our aspiration is for every employee to feel inspired by our purpose, be curious about new ideas, and work in an unbossed environment that encourages teamwork, initiative and innovation.

In 2021, we made progress in transforming our culture to attract and retain the best talent to support our strategy. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we explored new working models that allow employees to maximize their performance. We continued to promote digital skills across the organization and reached more leaders with our flagship leadership development program, while becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.

The score for engagement in our quarterly employee survey stood at 78 in Q4 2021, compared to 80 in Q4 2020. The latest score was 5 points higher than the industry benchmark and was broadly consistent across genders, with scores of 78 for men and 79 for women. Engagement favorability, which measures the percentage of “agree” or “strongly agree” survey responses, was 86% in the fourth quarter, compared with 87% a year earlier.

In 2021, we continued to score highly in environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings on human capital. For example, Novartis improved its performance in the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, with strong ESG scores achieved in the areas of human capital development, labor practices, and talent attraction and retention.

People performance indicators

 

2021

2020

2019

Headcount1

108 514

110 738

108 776

Full-time equivalent positions1

104 323

105 794

103 914

Annual training hours per employee (full population/internal only)2

44.6/52.1

45.7/53.2

35.8/n/a

Representation of nationalities: overall/management3

143/115

142/113

149/110

Employees represented by an employee representative body or covered by a collective bargaining agreement (%)4

47

46

45

Percentage turnover: voluntary/overall

7.5/13.2

5.2/10.1

7.0/14.0

Percentage of hires: internal/external

62/38

58/42

55/45

Health and safety5

 

 

 

Lost-time injury and illness rate (per 200 000 hours worked)

0.13

0.13

0.18

Total recordable case rate (per 200 000 hours worked)6

0.25

0.23

0.36

Fatalities

0

1

1

Gender indicators7

 

 

 

Median tenure in years: female/male

4.8/5.5

4.7/5.5

5.5/6.5

Gender representation (% female/% male)

 

 

 

Overall headcount

51/49

50/49

50/50

Hires8

52/47

52/48

53/47

Promotions

55/45

52/48

51/49

Overall turnover

50/50

49/51

48/52

Entry-level positions (job levels 6, 7, 8)

52/48

52/48

52/48

Revenue-producing roles9

51/49

50/50

49/51

IT roles (IT job family)

23/77

22/78

22/78

Engineering roles (R&D + TechOps job families)10

48/52

47/53

46/54

Overall management3

46/54

45/55

44/56

Novartis Top Leaders11

38/62

33/67

31/69

Senior management

39/61

39/61

38/62

Middle management

47/53

46/54

45/55

Board of Directors

31/69

29/71

25/75

Gender representation by contract type (female/male)

 

 

 

Full time

48 618/51 904

48 472/53 507

46 907/53 164

Part-time

6 755/1 133

7 204/1 219

7 338/1 246

Permanent

53 509/51 497

53 729/53 096

51 906/52 691

Temporary

1 854/1 539

1 935/1 629

2 327/1 718

Number of employees by region, by contract type (permanent/temporary)

 

 

 

Asia-Pacific

28 229/420

27 711/300

26 559/666

Europe/Middle East/Africa

55 362/2 752

56 852/3 016

56 855/3 063

Latin America

5 101/127

5 092/157

5 311/194

North America

16 314/94

17 170/91

15 872/122

1

Headcount reflects the total number of employees in our payroll systems. Full-time equivalent adjusts headcount for employees working less than 100%.

2

From 2021, Novartis has begun reporting training hours for internal employees only, in addition to data for the full population.

3

Management defined by Global Job Level Architecture and Novartis Top Leaders

4

Non-management employees

5

Data include Novartis employees and third-party personnel managed by Novartis employees.

6

Data include all work-related injury and illness, whether leading to lost time or not.

7

Fewer than 0.5% of employees have unknown classification, apart from hires, which have a 1.2% unknown classification.

8

1.2% of hires have unknown classification

9

Revenue-producing roles are defined as the sum of BD&L and strategy plan, commercial and general, market access, and marketing and sales job families.

10

Engineering roles are defined as the sum of research and development and Technical Operations job families.

11

Novartis Top Leaders comprise the approximately 300 most senior managers at Novartis, including the Executive Committee of Novartis.