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We have a global workforce of around 57,500 people in more than 100 countries. We are dedicated to building an inclusive, open and trusting organisation that embraces the skills, knowledge and unique ability of our employees. We are also committed to promoting a safe and healthy work environment, and embedding international human rights in our operations and our sphere of influence.

What we're doing

Attracting and retaining talent

We understand the critical role that good leadership plays in stimulating high levels of performance and engagement. In 2014, we introduced the STAR programme. It focuses on developing enterprise leadership within our early talent and provides an opportunity to study AstraZeneca cases and interact with senior leaders. We offered the programme six times in 2014. We also ran a customised leadership programme for our top 150 leaders with Harvard Business School and a programme for senior leaders with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both programmes aim to support the development of enterprise leaders who enable others to live our Values and Behaviours and foster an environment of openness, inclusivity and innovation.

Increasing employee engagement

The results of our global employee census survey (FOCUS) in 2014, and two brief ‘pulse’ surveys across a sample of the organisation, revealed that employee engagement increased to 85 percent in 2014. This is an increase of eight percentage points compared to FOCUS 2012, and only one percentage point behind the global high-performing norm.

The survey achieved an 89 percent response rate and showed improvements across all categories for which we had a point of comparison for 2012, including understanding and belief in our direction and priorities. The score for recommending AstraZeneca as a great place to work was 82 percent.

We identified two specific areas for improvement. One relates to further simplifying the business and eliminating obstacles to efficiency. The second relates to developing our people, where the survey results showed that employee belief in the existence of opportunities for career development and personal growth is two percentage points below the high-performing benchmark.

Managing relocation

In 2013, we announced plans to invest in three strategic R&D centres, which affected employees in the US and the UK. The most significant part of the plan will be the relocation of our UK-based global research and development centre and corporate headquarters to a new, purpose-built facility at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The 2,000-person site, which will be ready at the end of 2016, will house the majority of the staff currently located in three existing UK sites in Cheshire, London and an existing site in Cambridge. We encouraged and supported employees to relocate and more than half of the 400 employees now working at our interim facility in Cambridge have relocated from other sites. For employees who do not accept offers to relocate to Cambridge, UK, we provide career and outplacement support. Similar relocation initiatives are underway elsewhere in our organisation, including in the US, where almost 300 employees have accepted offers to relocate to Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Championing diversity

Our progress to improve diversity and inclusion is reflected
in the Diversity & Inclusion index. This index showed an improvement of three percentage points compared with the last comparable survey in 2012 and, at 80 percent favourable, is three percentage points above the global benchmark.

Women comprise 49.9 percent of our global workforce. There are currently four women on our Board (31 percent) and, below Board level, women comprise 40.5 percent of managers at Global Career Level F and above. Female representation in the global talent pool remains at 37 percent. Our target is to increase that to 38 percent by the end of 2015.

In 2014, the National Association for Female Executives ranked us in the top 10 of its 50 leading companies for the sixth consecutive year and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named us as a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality’. We were also featured among Working Mother magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies’.

Human rights

In our 2014 Human Rights Employee Practices Review, we included a number of questions in order to develop a global position on the living wage. The findings from 106 countries revealed that 100 percent of AstraZeneca countries believe their compensation package meets all the needs that are defined as constituting a living wage by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It also revealed that 65percent of AstraZeneca countries have a local legal or recognised definition of the living wage and in every case AstraZeneca rates of pay are better than the recognised standard. We are confident that our generous reward policies serve our commitment to human rights and enable our ability to recruit and retain the best talent.

Improving employee health and safety

As part of our 2020 strategy, our current targets were set in 2011 for the years up to and including 2015. Work is already underway on new targets to take us up to 2025. Having already achieved our 2015 lost time injury/illness rate target two years early, we achieved a further reduction in 2014. The lost time injury/illness rate reduced by 17 percent from 2013, which equates to a 38 percent overall reduction from the 2010 baseline.

Our Essential Health Activities framework consists of six global programmes and services that are being promoted and tailored to suit local cultures and risk profiles. These are Physical Fitness, Healthy Business Travel, Workplace Pressure Management, Tobacco Use Cessation, Healthy Eating and General Health Promotion. Standards and guidelines have been developed to support the implementation of programmes in these six areas and we have set a target that requires more than 80 percent of sites or marketing companies to have all six in place by 2015.

Promoting driver safety

Driving is our highest risk area for serious injury and fatality. This is why improving driver safety is our highest priority, particularly among our sales forces that form the largest group of employees driving on AstraZeneca business. Our focus is on promoting driver safety through awareness and training programmes among our sales forces.

We monitor performance centrally to assess progress and identify areas for attention. In 2014, we exceeded our annual target for reducing collisions per million kilometres driven and met our 2015 target one year early. We regret, however, that during 2014 an employee was killed in a traffic accident while driving on AstraZeneca business. A detailed investigation has been carried out and an action plan has been created to respond to the findings of the investigation. The actions will be monitored and learning will be shared across AstraZeneca.

Promoting wellbeing

The Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) challenges companies from around the world 
to help improve the health and performance of its employees through team competition. In teams of seven, participants undertake various tasks designed to increase their physical activity levels, and improve their diet and the quality of their sleep.

Teams from AstraZeneca have taken part in the GCC for the past seven years and, in 2014, 2,366 AstraZeneca employees from 30 countries, including a team from the senior executive team, set themselves the task of walking 10,000 steps a day.

By the end of the challenge, employees had averaged 13,252 daily steps, above the overall GCC step average of 13,167. Topping the AstraZeneca leader board, however, was a team from Kazakhstan that averaged 45,000 steps a day. Their achievement meant they finished eighth in the GCC, walking an impressive 12,601 miles during the 100 days of the competition.

AstraZeneca was placed third out of 115 organisations in the Healthcare and Medical category and achieved 17th position overall out of 1,200 organisations taking part.