By Faisal Ahmed, Sudler, PM Society Committee Member

Recently, the PM Society has been increasingly asked – what are we doing about diversity in our industry?

Firstly, we need to define what we mean by diversity. There is Gender, Class, Disability, LGBT, BAME, and Neurodiversity.

Secondly, diversity within what?  Do we mean numbers of women or LGBT+ in Executive positions within pharma and agencies? Do we mean diversity of the workforces at all levels including our graduate programmes? Should we be thinking about our working environments and working practices, some of which would put off or exclude certain people?

Or are we talking about the communications tools and marketing materials we produce? These projects touch HCPs, patients and carers from all backgrounds across the country. Do we fully consider the diversity of our target audiences when we gather insights, select patient case studies or choose actors for photo shoots?

There is so much to talk about, so much to do and lots of individuals and organisations already raising awareness and changing practice. So, what can the PM Society do in this space?

Firstly, we can continue to strive for diversity within our own organisation and events; diversity within our judging panels, a diverse range of speakers at events, diversity in our Committees and within our Interest Groups.

But we can also go further. As part of our mission to promote best practice, our aim in 2020 is to gather best practice examples from across our industry within two key areas:

Diversity within our organisations (both Pharma and agencies)

  • How are we making sure that, as an industry, we are visible to a diverse potential workforce?
  • How are we improving our recruitment practices, for example reducing unconscious bias in our interview processes?
  • How are we supporting our diverse workforce and adapting our working environments and policies so that all individuals can excel?

Diversity in our communications

  • Do we ensure insights and research are conducted amongst a diverse set of stakeholders?
  • How are we ensuring our communications and marketing materials are truly developed with diversity of audience in mind?
  • Do we have representation from all types of patients in our advertising campaigns?
  • Do we have enough diversity in our creative teams?

Diversity thinking does really help create life-changing work and drives innovation in organisations. So, we need to do more. If you have an example of how your organisation has helped improve diversity that you would be willing to share please get in touch with

We will be compiling a list of best practice examples on the PM Society website, and hope to run an event later in the year to share experiences.