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Addressing leadership barriers for women in tech and pharma

Contrary to Big Tech, historically the pharmaceutical industry has had a good reputation for being a female-positive industry.
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Contrary to Big Tech, historically the pharmaceutical industry has had a good reputation for being a female-positive industry. However, both industries share a common problem: failure to provide women with C-suite opportunities. In fact, women hold only 11% of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies. The biopharma industry is worse, with women only accounting for 8% of CEO roles.

The COVID-19 pandemic amplified these disparities, with data showing that increased childcare responsibilities have become a major barrier for women in the workplace. According to a recent survey of 450 tech professionals, when asked how their work life has been impacted by the pandemic, 57% of women reported they felt more burnt out, compared to just 36% of men. Additionally, 43% of women said they had taken on more responsibility at work throughout the pandemic, versus 33% of men. Unsurprisingly, mothers are three times more likely to decline leadership opportunities than women without children.

As a working mother myself, this data hits close to home. I’ve been fortunate to work for companies that have supported my upward career trajectory, but I am cognizant that not every woman can say that. 15 years ago, I had a close female friend with young children who was well-qualified for a promotion to a leadership position, but she turned it down because of her familial responsibilities. Instead, she coached a male colleague on her team for the position and he ended up moulding the position to fit to his own familial responsibilities, which she hadn’t realised she would even be able to do had she accepted the position herself. To this day, she regrets the missed opportunity.

Beyond family obligations, there are many systemic barriers for women in tech leadership spaces, including gaps in STEM degrees, compensation inequality, and workplace culture issues. What companies need to realise is that addressing the C-suite gender diversity gap requires a company-wide commitment to supporting women as they take on these roles. But from my experience as both a leader in the pharmaceutical tech space and as a mother, the support shouldn’t stop there. To succeed in leadership, women need support from above – from leadership – and around – from colleagues, spouses, or outside groups – as well as within – through self-advocacy.

Tackling systemic barriers begins with education and representation
Given that opportunity in the tech space begins with education, the disparity between degrees earned by men versus women in the STEM space is concerning, with women making up only about 19% of STEM graduates. It is critical that company leaders not only ensure diversity in their C-suite, but also establish university outreach and internship programs that connect young aspiring women with female mentors in the field. Without that representation, many young women will not view the tech industry as a place where they can succeed or harness upward mobility in their careers.

As my children get older and I have more capacity between work and home life, mentoring women in the pharmaceutical tech industry has become a significant goal for me. While female leaders should absolutely seek out ways to guide other women in their field, company leadership should also prioritise formalised mentorship programs that support female career progression.

Compassionate leadership and flexibility – the key to addressing retention issues and burnout
In addition to its struggles to attract women, the tech industry also faces serious retention issues for women who do enter the field. According to the Women in Tech Network, due to lack of role models and significant personal sacrifices they’ve had to make, women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men. Given that employee turnover incurs significant financial and cultural costs, it is in the best interest of companies in this space to listen to their female workforce and make accommodations.

In addition to mentorship, flexibility when it comes to maternity leave and family obligations is key to supporting the success of a working mother. From my experience as a leader, I know firsthand that an employee who goes above and beyond cannot perform when they are burnt out, and if you give employees the freedom to take care of all components of their lives, they will work even harder to demonstrate their commitment to their manager and to the organisation. This is important for companies to gain long term stability with their workforce.

A good manager knows and cares about the personal lives of their direct reports and works with them to address challenges that may be impacting their work. It is critical that all managers lead their teams with flexibility and compassion, however, it’s also critical that companies prioritise appointing women to positions of leadership to show commitment to gender diversity. Weaving diversity and inclusion into company values not only signals to lower-level women in the organisation that an upward career trajectory is possible for them, too, but also ensures that there are company leaders who understand the hurdles women in the industry face firsthand.

Familial support and self-advocacy
In a perfect world, progress would start with company leadership – but if it doesn’t, women themselves are their own greatest advocates. While companies committed to improving diversity should formalise mentorship programs, prioritise female representation in leadership and ensure managers lead with compassion and flexibility, it is ultimately up to women (and everyone for that matter!) to take charge of their own career goals and aspirations.

My advice to women in the tech field is this: if there are no existing mentorship programs within your company, seek out a mentor yourself. Ask a woman in leadership whom you admire out for coffee – chances are she will enjoy providing you with counsel for your career. Similarly, if you are a working mother or have other family commitments, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to succeed, whether that’s from your company, your spouse, or from hired help. Taking everything on both at work and at home is an admirable pursuit, but it is not sustainable. Give yourself permission to ask for help and remember you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help others.

Diversity makes for a better workplace
Greater diversity ultimately contributes to a more successful business, improving company culture, recruitment, retention, and collaboration. Data also indicates that companies with diverse executive teams perform better financially than companies lacking in diversity, and are also likely to be more innovative. As the tech industry continues to flourish, successful companies will take active steps to support women in their career goals, while providing them with female mentorship from above and upward mobility career opportunities.

About the author
Katie Laughlin is a business and offering development professional with 20 years of experience in pharma, medical device, and CRO organisations with a focus in clinical trials and commercial information management. She works with a consultative and strategic approach, focusing on driving growth through new business development and expansion of existing relationships into new business lines and offerings. Katie currently leads offering development at IQVIA for the Human Data Science Cloud.

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Schedule for Week of January 29, 2023

The key reports scheduled for this week are the January employment report and November Case-Shiller house prices.Other key indicators include January ISM manufacturing and services surveys, and January vehicle sales.The FOMC meets this week, and the FO…

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The key reports scheduled for this week are the January employment report and November Case-Shiller house prices.

Other key indicators include January ISM manufacturing and services surveys, and January vehicle sales.

The FOMC meets this week, and the FOMC is expected to announce a 25 bp hike in the Fed Funds rate.

----- Monday, January 30th -----

10:30 AM: Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for January. This is the last of the regional Fed manufacturing surveys for January.

----- Tuesday, January 31st -----

9:00 AM: FHFA House Price Index for November. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.

9:00 AM ET: S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for November.

This graph shows the Year over year change in the nominal seasonally adjusted National Index, Composite 10 and Composite 20 indexes through the most recent report (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

The consensus is for a 6.9% year-over-year increase in the Comp 20 index.

9:45 AM: Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for January. The consensus is for a reading of 44.9, down from 45.1 in December.

10:00 AM: The Q4 Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report from the Census Bureau.

----- Wednesday, February 1st -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

8:15 AM: The ADP Employment Report for January. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 170,000 payroll jobs added in January, down from 235,000 added in December.

10:00 AM: Construction Spending for December. The consensus is for a 0.1% decrease in construction spending.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey10:00 AM ET: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December from the BLS.

This graph shows job openings (black line), hires (purple), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

Job openings decreased in November to 10.458 million from 10.512 million in October

10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for January. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 48.0, down from 48.4 in December.

2:00 PM: FOMC Meeting Announcement. The FOMC is expected to announce a 25 bp hike in the Fed Funds rate.

2:30 PM: Fed Chair Jerome Powell holds a press briefing following the FOMC announcement.

Vehicle SalesAll day: Light vehicle sales for January. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to be 14.3 million SAAR in January, up from 13.3 million in December (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

This graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967. The dashed line is the December sales rate.

----- Thursday, February 2nd -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 200 thousand initial claims, up from 186 thousand last week.
----- Friday, February 3rd -----

Employment Recessions, Scariest Job Chart8:30 AM: Employment Report for December.   The consensus is for 185,000 jobs added, and for the unemployment rate to increase to 3.6%.

There were 223,000 jobs added in December, and the unemployment rate was at 3.5%.

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms.

The pandemic employment recession was by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms. However, as of August 2022, the total number of jobs had returned and are now 1.24 million above pre-pandemic levels.

10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for January. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 50.3, up from 49.6 in December.

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US gov’t $1.5T debt interest will be equal 3X Bitcoin market cap in 2023

The U.S. will pay over $1 trillion in debt interest next year, the equivalent of three or more Bitcoin market caps at current prices.

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The U.S. will pay over $1 trillion in debt interest next year, the equivalent of three or more Bitcoin market caps at current prices.

Commentators believe that Bitcoin (BTC) bulls do not need to wait long for the United States to start printing money again.

The latest analysis of U.S. macroeconomic data has led one market strategist to predict quantitative tightening (QT) ending to avoid a “catastrophic debt crisis.”

Analyst: Fed will have “no choice” with rate cuts

The U.S. Federal Reserve continues to remove liquidity from the financial system to fight inflation, reversing years of COVID-19-era money printing.

While interest rate hikes look set to continue declining in scope, some now believe that the Fed will soon have only one option — to halt the process altogether.

“Why the Fed will have no choice but to cut or risk a catastrophic debt crisis,” Sven Henrich, founder of NorthmanTrader, summarized on Jan. 27.

“Higher for longer is a fantasy not rooted in math reality.”

Henrich uploaded a chart showing interest payments on current U.S. government expenditure, now hurtling toward $1 trillion a year.

A dizzying number, the interest comes from U.S. government debt being over $31 trillion, with the Fed printing trillions of dollars since March 2020. Since then, interest payments have increased by 42%, Henrich noted.

The phenomenon has not gone unnoticed elsewhere in crypto circles. Popular Twitter account Wall Street Silver compared the interest payments as a portion of U.S. tax revenue.

“US paid $853 Billion in Interest for $31 Trillion Debt in 2022; More than Defense Budget in 2023. If the Fed keeps rates at these levels (or higher) we will be at $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in interest paid on the debt,” it wrote.

“The US govt collects about $4.9 trillion in taxes.”
Interest rates on U.S. government debt chart (screenshot). Source: Wall Street Silver/ Twitter

Such a scenario might be music to the ears of those with significant Bitcoin exposure. Periods of “easy” liquidity have corresponded with increased appetite for risk assets across the mainstream investment world.

The Fed’s unwinding of that policy accompanied Bitcoin’s 2022 bear market, and a “pivot” in interest rate hikes is thus seen by many as the first sign of the “good” times returning.

Crypto pain before pleasure?

Not everyone, however, agrees that the impact on risk assets, including crypto, will be all-out positive prior to that.

Related: Bitcoin ‘so bullish’ at $23K as analyst reveals new BTC price metrics

As Cointelegraph reported, ex-BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes believes that chaos will come first, tanking Bitcoin and altcoins to new lows before any sort of long-term renaissance kicks in.

If the Fed faces a complete lack of options to avoid a meltdown, Hayes believes that the damage will have already been done before QT gives way to quantitative easing.

“This scenario is less ideal because it would mean that everyone who is buying risky assets now would be in store for massive drawdowns in performance. 2023 could be just as bad as 2022 until the Fed pivots,” he wrote in a blog post this month.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Stay Ahead of GDP: 3 Charts to Become a Smarter Trader

When concerns of a recession are front and center, investors tend to pay more attention to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. The Q4 2022 GDP report…

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When concerns of a recession are front and center, investors tend to pay more attention to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. The Q4 2022 GDP report showed the U.S. economy grew by 2.9% in the quarter, and Wall Street wasn't disappointed. The day the report was released, the market closed higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJIA) up 0.61%, the S&P 500 index ($SPX) up 1.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite ($COMPQ) up 1.76%. Consumer Discretionary, Technology, and Energy were the top-performing S&P sectors.

Add to the GDP report strong earnings from Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) and a mega announcement from Chevron Corp. (CVX)—raising dividends and a $75 billion buyback round—and you get a strong day in the stock markets.

Why is the GDP Report Important?

If a country's GDP is growing faster than expected, it could be a positive indication of economic strength. It means that consumer spending, business investment, and exports, among other factors, are going strong. But the GDP is just one indicator, and one indicator doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. It's a good idea to look at other indicators, such as the unemployment rate, inflation, and consumer sentiment, before making a conclusion.

Inflation appears to be cooling, but the labor market continues to be strong. The Fed has stated in many of its previous meetings that it'll be closely watching the labor market. So that'll be a sticky point as we get close to the next Fed meeting. Consumer spending is also strong, according to the GDP report. But that could have been because of increased auto sales and spending on services such as health care, personal care, and utilities. Retail sales released earlier in January indicated that holiday sales were lower.

There's a chance we could see retail sales slowing in Q1 2023 as some households run out of savings that were accumulated during the pandemic. This is something to keep an eye on going forward, as a slowdown in retail sales could mean increases in inventories. And this is something that could decrease economic activity.

Overall, the recent GDP report indicates the U.S. economy is strong, although some economists feel we'll probably see some downside in 2023, though not a recession. But the one drawback of the GDP report is that it's lagging. It comes out after the fact. Wouldn't it be great if you had known this ahead of time so you could position your trades to take advantage of the rally? While there's no way to know with 100% accuracy, there are ways to identify probable events.

3 Ways To Stay Ahead of the Curve

Instead of waiting for three months to get next quarter's GDP report, you can gauge the potential strength or weakness of the overall U.S. economy. Steven Sears, in his book The Indomitable Investor, suggested looking at these charts:

  • Copper prices
  • High-yield corporate bonds
  • Small-cap stocks

Copper: An Economic Indicator

You may not hear much about copper, but it's used in the manufacture of several goods and in construction. Given that manufacturing and construction make up a big chunk of economic activity, the red metal is more important than you may have thought. If you look at the chart of copper futures ($COPPER) you'll see that, in October 2022, the price of copper was trading sideways, but, in November, its price rose and trended quite a bit higher. This would have been an indication of a strengthening economy.

CHART 1: COPPER CONTINUOUS FUTURES CONTRACTS. Copper prices have been rising since November 2022. Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

High-Yield Bonds: Risk On Indicator

The higher the risk, the higher the yield. That's the premise behind high-yield bonds. In short, companies that are leveraged, smaller, or just starting to grow may not have the solid balance sheets that more established companies are likely to have. If the economy slows down, investors are likely to sell the high-yield bonds and pick up the safer U.S. Treasury bonds.

Why the flight to safety? It's because when the economy is sluggish, the companies that issue the high-yield bonds tend to find it difficult to service their debts. When the economy is expanding, the opposite happens—they tend to perform better.

The chart below of the Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index ($DJCB) shows that, since the end of October 2022, the index trended higher. Similar to copper prices, high-yield corporate bond activity was also indicating economic expansion. You'll see similar action in charts of high-yield bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) such as iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) and SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK).

CHART 2: HIGH-YIELD BONDS TRENDING HIGHER. The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index ($DJCB) has been trending higher since end of October 2022.Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

Small-Cap Stocks: They're Sensitive

Pull up a chart of the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) and you'll see similar price action (see chart 3). Since mid-October, small-cap stocks (the Russell 2000 index is made up of 2000 small companies) have been moving higher.

CHART 3: SMALL-CAP STOCKS TRENDING HIGHER. When the economy is expanding, small-cap stocks trend higher.Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

Three's Company

If all three of these indicators are showing strength, you can expect the GDP number to be strong. There are times when the GDP number may not impact the markets, but, when inflation is a problem and the Fed is trying to curb it by raising interest rates, the GDP number tends to impact the markets.

This scenario is likely to play out in 2023, so it would be worth your while to set up a GDP Tracker ChartList. Want a live link to the charts used in this article? They're all right here.


Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan

Director, Site Content

StockCharts.com

 

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. The ideas and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, or without consulting a financial professional.

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