Inclusion and diversity

We are champions of inclusion and diversity

Inclusion and diversity are fundamental to the success of our company, because innovation requires breakthrough ideas that only come from a diverse workforce empowered to challenge conventional thinking.

We also know that people are able to work better in environments where they feel safe and empowered. That is why we aim to create an inclusive workplace and a workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate and the patients we help, delivering diversity of thought, incorporating cultural understanding and ultimately stimulating an atmosphere where people feel that they belong.

We value our differences because we recognise that a team is at its most creative when it is made up of people who think differently from one another, in an environment where different views and perspectives are welcomed and valued. This is how we foster continuous innovation, constant learning and growth for us as individuals and for our patients. 

Our approach

Being champions of inclusion and diversity is part of our company strategy with three priority areas: empowering inclusive leadership; fostering a culture where people speak their minds and building and sustaining a diverse leadership and talent pipeline. We believe this commitment is fundamental to fuel the next wave of life-changing medicines that patients need, and society values.

Actions speak louder than words. See how we champion inclusion and diversity at AstraZeneca in some of our stories below and read more here.

Our stories

Our Global Inclusion and Diversity Council

Inclusive leadership at AstraZeneca is about valuing, seeking out and leveraging our differences to achieve our company goals. It is the expected way of working for everyone, irrespective of career level. It means we all contribute to a psychologically safe environment, by demonstrating open minds, active listening and transparent decision making.

Our Global Inclusion and Diversity Council is made up of senior and rising leaders who are representative of our global workforce and organisational structure, and is chaired by our CEO, Pascal Soriot.

The Council leads our inclusion and diversity strategy, resulting in a global approach that is tailored for our organisation. This year for example, the Council have focused their efforts to develop a comprehensive plan of action for racial equity, above and beyond existing global and local efforts. This plan ensures that the actions we take are meaningful and sustainable with long-term impact.

Speaking our minds

We encourage people to speak their minds by promoting inclusive behaviour and diversity of thought to unleash our collective potential.

Speaking your mind at AstraZeneca is about:

  • Welcoming and suggesting alternative ideas, opinions and constructive feedback.
  • Empowering decision making and accountability.
  • Challenging behaviours that are not in line with our Values.

Our annual Inclusion and Diversity Summits promote inclusion and diversity in the workplace across the world and feature a dynamic mix of speakers and leaders who challenge participants to think differently, speak up and take action. In 2019, five Summits were held across eight sites, in the US, the UK, Sweden, Poland and Brazil. In 2020, we will have a global Power of Diversity Week that reaches our entire workforce across the world.

We have a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) across our organisation, such as the AZPride ERG for our LGBTQIA+ community and allies. Our ERGs are empowered to organise events and initiatives, fostering our inclusive culture where people are valued for the difference they bring.

Attracting, retaining and developing diverse and talented people

We foster an inclusive workplace and a workforce that reflects our communities and the patients we help, delivers diversity of thought, incorporates cultural understanding and ultimately stimulates an atmosphere where our employees feel that they belong.

In France, a student’s educational path and access to employment can depend on their social, territorial, ethnic and cultural background. It takes six generations in France to get out of poverty compared to four, on average, in OECD countries.

In 2019, we took action on social inclusion as a founding partner of L'Ascenseur (the Elevator in English). L’Ascenseur brings together 20 associations to facilitate social mobility.

Together with L’Ascenseur, we are developing the first collaborative cross-association program and involving our employees in the challenge through mentorship, workshops, tutoring and coaching. Enriching our pipeline of young talented people from various origins and backgrounds is how we will continue to push the boundaries of science with new perspectives and ideas.

By the end of 2022, we aim to support more than 1,000 young people in France, from age 12 to 25, all along the professional value chain: information, orientation, education and employment.

Beyond this example, we work to foster inclusion and diversity at every stage of our talent pipeline from posting job advertisements on more diverse, non-traditional job boards through to dedicated training for hiring managers to understand, recognise and avoid unconscious bias, and more. Inclusion and Diversity is woven into the values and behaviours that guide all that we do and is expected from everyone at AstraZeneca. 

Our commitments

Our commitments include a goal to increase the number of women on our leadership teams. Currently, 46% of our senior roles are filled by women, compared to 40% in 2012. We offer dedicated training programmes to support and accelerate the career and personal goals of women in our company. Women are currently promoted at a higher rate than men across all levels of seniority, positively impacting the gender balance.

We are one of 325 companies on the Bloomberg LP Gender-Equality Index 2020, which distinguishes companies committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality.

In November 2019, the Hampton-Alexander Review named us as one of the highest-ranking pharmaceutical companies in the FTSE 100 for representation of women on the combined executive committee and their direct reports, and we moved up from 7th in 2018 to 6th place in 2019.

We have also set a comprehensive plan to ensure racial equity in our workplace and in access to our medicines. Our commitments include ensuring our workforce is representative of the communities in which we operate, taking action at each stage of our talent pipeline to increase representation, and driving change beyond our company by ensuring all that we do reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.



In the United States, we were included on the Forbes Best Employers For Diversity list for 2019, ranking 216th out of 500.

We have also earned a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's index resulting in a designation as one of the 2020 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

Learn more about inclusion and diversity in our Sustainability Report.