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Breaking Through Diversity Barriers: Bringing More Women into Data Science in Big Pharma

A leading pharmaceutical company needed to diversify their Data Science team by recruiting more women. Here’s how we helped them achieve their goal.





Company Size

Large corporate business

Hiring Manager

Chief Data Scientist

Positions for Hire

Multiple Data Scientist roles

At a Glance



Hiring female Data Scientists to increase team diversity.



DST helped the hiring manager access the female Data Science talent pool using a tailored, three-step approach.



DST increased the team from 5 male team members to 42, with 21% being female and from across 16 nationalities.


At this leading pharmaceutical company, the Chief Data Scientist (CDS) and his Data Science team to deliver a wide range of projects across business units (including Supply Chain, Finance & Risk Management, Drug Safety and Sales & Marketing).

Despite having an existing team of ten, the CDS hadn’t recruited any female team members and this lack of diversity was highlighted by the Senior Leadership Team.

The CDS was under pressure to address the imbalance, but had no clear plan for recruiting new team members.


We planned a three-stage approach to find female Data Scientists for the team.

First, we carried out interviews with three senior women from the business. By talking about their personal career histories and achievements, we understood why these women had stayed for so long. They were keen to express how the company was a great place for women to work.

To highlight this feedback, we created a job advert and shaped specific marketing messages (using gender- neutral language analysis tools) to highlight the company’s proposition.

Messaging included:
  • How a significant percentage of management positions within the business were held by women
  • The flexible approach to working by accommodating individual’s needs
  • How the business values the opinion of all its employees
  • Quotes from some of the female employees
Finally, we identified the female talent pool by:
  • Completing a female-only mapping exercise which involved researching the top 200 female first names in Germany
  • Preparing a Boolean search string including first names, data science and role-specific key words / phrases and location
  • Contacting all the female prospects identified who were living in Germany with the relevant skill set


  • We increased the Data Science team from 10 to 25 in 18 months. Crucially, 21% of these new recruits were women.
  • Crucially, by the time we had built the team out to 42, we had also created further diversity by securing individuals from 16 nationalities.
  • For the Director of Data Science, he’d solved the problem highlighted by Senior Management and now nurtured a more diverse, balanced and productive working environment for his team.
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