Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Life Science Industry


The issue of unconscious bias within the workplace has become a key focus within company DEI policies over the last few years. With a Deloitte survey finding that 39% of employees experience unconscious bias at least once a month, it’s clear to see why. And the life science industry certainly isn’t immune to its influence.


What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias refers to the implicit attitudes and stereotypes that affect our judgments and decision-making processes without our awareness. These biases can hinder diversity, equity, and inclusion, ultimately impeding progress and limiting the potential of your business.


Not only can it have negative impacts on your workplace, but it can also cause issues with your product development. Biases in research, clinical trials, and healthcare delivery can impact patient outcomes. Addressing unconscious bias is essential for ensuring that healthcare solutions are effective, equitable, and inclusive for all populations.


How do you address unconscious bias?


If it’s happening unintentionally, it’s difficult to pinpoint the attitudes that are contributing to the issue – but not impossible! The following are some things you can implement within your business to impact change.


Education and Awareness

Firstly, you need to raise awareness about unconscious bias. This can be done through training programs, workshops, and discussions. Provide employees with the knowledge and tools to recognize and mitigate biases in their decision-making processes.


Create a safe space

Addressing unconscious bias can be a pretty uncomfortable process. Make sure people know they can ask questions and voice their concerns if they feel they’re either experiencing bias or displaying signs of it. You can do this with regulatory employee surveys, anonymous suggestion boxes and focus groups.


Become an example

It’s not always easy to face your own bias. Encourage your team to examine how their own judgments might be impacted by being transparent about your own as a business leader.


Diverse Hiring Practices

Implement inclusive hiring practices that focus on skills, qualifications, and potential rather than relying on traditional markers of success. Ensure diverse representation on hiring panels and actively recruit candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. You can do this internally, or by working with a third part recruitment partner like Scienta.


Structured Decision-Making Processes

Implement structured decision-making processes, such as blind resume reviews and standardized interview questions, to minimize the influence of unconscious bias in hiring, promotion, and performance evaluation processes.


Diversity Initiatives and Programs

Develop and support diversity initiatives and programs aimed at increasing representation and fostering inclusivity within the organization. This could include mentorship programs, affinity groups, and networking opportunities for employees from underrepresented backgrounds.


Data Collection and Analysis

Collect and analyse data on diversity metrics, including representation, retention, and promotion rates, to identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. Use this data to inform diversity and inclusion strategies and measure their effectiveness.


Continuous Evaluation and Improvement

Unconscious bias is pervasive and ever-evolving, requiring ongoing efforts to address and mitigate its impact. Continuously evaluate and refine diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure their effectiveness and relevance within the evolving landscape of the life science industry.



Unconscious bias poses significant challenges to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the life science industry. However, by recognizing its impact and implementing strategies to address it, organizations can create more inclusive and equitable workplaces where all employees can thrive and contribute to meaningful scientific advancements.


As the industry continues to evolve, addressing unconscious bias will be essential for driving innovation, improving patient outcomes, and shaping a brighter future for the life sciences.