Our Commitment

In 2021, we reflected — and then acted. We pledged to our people, partners, patients and communities to intensify our DE&I efforts, set bold aspirations, develop solid plans and hold ourselves accountable. In 2022, we completed the rollout of our new strategy and showed that we are on track to achieve our 2030 goals.

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Our DE&I Report

Read our Premier Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report: Building Belonging, Advancing Human Progress.

Download Report

Download DE&I Country Map

(Published July 2023)

Our world is beautifully diverse — and so is our company. We believe that championing a diverse workforce helps us better understand the needs of our stakeholders, exceed our customers’ expectations, stay economically and socially sustainable and, most of all, drive the kind of groundbreaking innovation that advances human progress. 

Belén Garijo

Chair of the Executive Board and CEO, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Facts & Figures

  • 90%

    people leaders in inclusive leadership workshop since program start in 2021

  • 60+

    internal DE&I employee groups and networks

  • 4

    generations working for the future of science & technology

  • 39%

    women in leadership, on track towards gender parity aspiration

  • 44%

    women in the workplace

  • <1.5%

    minimal adjusted gender pay gap

  • 65

    countries

  • 139

    nationalities

  • 21%

    underrepresented groups in the U.S. leadership

We are working to create an environment where all can belong, grow and thrive… today, tomorrow and for the next 350 years.

Renee Connolly

Chief Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officer, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Get a snapshot of how we are welcoming everyone as they are and cultivating diversity, equity & inclusion by watching our video!

Select Awards and Recognitions

Individual recognition

  • 2022 Honorary Award for outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion (BeyondGenderAgenda) - Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Company awards

  • World's Top Female Friendly Companies - Forbes
  • Europe's 100 Most Inclusive Companies - Financial Times
  • 100% Score on Corporate Equality Index (CEI) - fourth consecutive year
  • Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality - Human Rights Campaign
  • Top Large Companies in LGBTQ+ Diversity Performance Index - Uhlala Group
  • No. 6 in German Diversity Index 2023 - BeyondGenderAgenda
  • No. 17 out of 100 in BCG Gender Diversity Study - Boston Consulting Group & Technical University of Munich

Empathetic leaders connect, listen, inspire and motivate. They are inclusive, self-aware and capable of engaging beyond classic work topics. They take the pulse of the team, understand their needs and make sure they feel heard. They recognize that we all want to work with purpose and we all want to work successfully.

Khadija Ben Hammada

Chief Human Resources Officer, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Our Global Impact

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our company, we have established a network comprising our 18 major countries. To ensure that our DE&I initiatives are tailored to local contexts and needs, we have nominated dedicated representatives in each of these countries.
These representatives have worked closely with our DE&I team to develop tailored roadmaps for each country, outlining specific strategies and actions to promote greater diversity and inclusion within our workplaces and communities. In this report, we highlight some of the key initiatives and achievements resulting from this global effort, showcasing the valuable contributions made by our local teams in advancing DE&I across our organization.

Take a look at the map to learn more!

Brazil
Construction of neutral-gender restrooms in Brazilian offices
We believe that everyday details can often go unnoticed, but they make a big difference in our DE&I journey. With that in mind, the Rainbow Network DE&I , together with the Global Healthcare Organization and Facilities teams, led the initiative to build a gender-neutral bathroom at the factory in Rio de Janeiro that was released in May of 2022. Different from unisex bathrooms, gender-neutral bathrooms are intended to bring more convenience regardless of gender identity, welcoming those who identify with genders other than female and male. The bathroom has a personalized nameplate and caters to all people: women/men (cisgender and transgender) and non-binary, without exception. The initiative was also extended to other Brazilian sites such as São Paulo and Barueri. Many other sites across the globe have introduced gender-neutral bathrooms and changing facilities as well.
Canada
Multicultural Potluck Celebration
At the end of 2022, the Canadian Diversity & Inclusion Network celebrated diversity with multicultural country booths representing authentic dishes from different countries around the world. Healthcare Employees out of our Mississauga Healthcare office in Canada contributed and prepared tastings from around the world focusing on 5 continents, representing 13 different countries. Our amazing home chefs treated employees to Moussaka, Chicken Biryani, Jap chae, Tim Tam, Ackee, Saltfish, and many more. The network believes that food brings us together and is an important way for us to stay connected, learn about cultures, and each other.
China
Girls in STEM
Since 2021, we have invited 30-50 high school girls for a company visit every year to support more girls in STEMM for the future. These students get the chance to understand how a science and technology company operates with various departments and forms of communication. They see how employees contribute to STEMM fields and are encouraged to pursue their interested field of study.
Germany
Caring Rooms for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
To accommodate pregnant and breastfeeding women who have a need for privacy in the workplace, the headquarter established "caring rooms" at various points in the plant. These “caring rooms” help to create an environment in which women can feel like their needs are being met for them to feel a sense of belonging. These retreats for pregnant and breastfeeding women offer a suitable place for them to pump flexibility. These “caring rooms” are furnished with a couch and a comfortable armchair including a footstool and for privacy, the rooms can be locked from the inside (they can of course be opened from the outside at any time by the fire brigade in an emergency).
Germany
Gender Transition Toolkit
In North America and Germany, we have rolled out Gender Transition Toolkits to inform employees, managers, and HR Business partners about how we support employees who are transitioning gender. The guidelines and information included are intended to enable an employee to transition with as much ease, comfort, and support as the company can provide. Because every transition is unique, these guidelines are considered a resource through which an employee can make informed decisions, have supported conversations, and create their own unique path. The Gender Transition Toolkit aims to help employees express their gender identity, characteristics, or expression without fear of negative workplace consequences.
India
VOICE: Leadership program for Women
VOICE, a leadership program for women in India, aims to awaken women to their innate feminine leadership capacities, through an inside-out, awareness-based approach. The program was piloted in April 2023. It includes peer coaching elements and fosters cross-sectoral networking. The leadership program was crafted to unleash women’s formidable creativity and innate entrepreneurialism to raise themselves, their teams and the organization to the next, desired level. By breaking unconscious biases and myths, becoming aware of strengths & leadership style and creating a BIG picture vision & road map, women leaders develop a wide range of skills to bring into the workplace.
Ireland
Riley's period poverty work
To improve the lives of women who are often excluded from the activities of daily life, work or education during menstruation due to lack of access to products, the Cork Site in Ireland partnered with sustainable period product company, Riley, to provide free period products for colleagues at the site. With the average period pad containing an approximate plastic content of 90%, Riley sought to create an eco-friendly alternative that wouldn't harm the planet. All their products are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which means there are no added chemicals or toxins. The majority of packaging is compostable, and the tampon applicators are bio-based and made from sustainable sugar cane. Riley is also committed to fighting period poverty in the developing world with €1 from every box sold going to providing period products to young girls in Kenya as well as funding doctor-school visits. This partnership enables us to provide health, wellbeing and sustainability improvements for its employees.
Italy
Female Leader Program in Healthcare
The Healthcare organization in Italy launched a Cross-Mentoring program dedicated to future Female Leaders in collaboration with AHK Italian and the German chamber of commerce. The program was kicked off in April 2023 and includes coaching sessions, mentorships, workshops, and networking events. Female leaders are assigned to mentors and can choose from a list of training offerings to enhance their specific skills.
Japan
Harassment Prevention Training
To establish “High Impact Culture” in our organization, it is essential to create a workplace where psychological safety is secured. “Prevention harassment” is one of the bases for psychological safety. Several local sessions have been scheduled in Japan in 2023.
Kenya
Riley's period poverty work
To improve the lives of women who are often excluded from the activities of daily life, work or education during menstruation due to lack of access to products, the Cork Site in Ireland partnered with sustainable period product company, Riley, to provide free period products for colleagues at the site. With the average period pad containing an approximate plastic content of 90%, Riley sought to create an eco-friendly alternative that wouldn't harm the planet. All their products are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which means there are no added chemicals or toxins. The majority of packaging is compostable, and the tampon applicators are bio-based and made from sustainable sugar cane. Riley is also committed to fighting period poverty in the developing world with €1 from every box sold going to providing period products to young girls in Kenya as well as funding doctor-school visits. This partnership enables us to provide health, wellbeing and sustainability improvements for its employees.
LatAm
Women in Leadership Development Program
In LatAm, the Women in Leadership Employee Resource Group developed a talent development tool to accelerate the growth of our female leaders. The program provides employees with the 5 power skills that women need to succeed in their professional career, based on the Wo/Men(in) Research (Survey 2017-2022) on 40,000 LatAm executives: Emotional Agility & Resilience, Career-Life Balance, Negotiating & Networking, Creative Thinking & Innovation, and Strategic Foresight & Decision Making. The program includes kickoff meetings on “Power of Transformation” for attendees and another for their managers; personalized power skills assessment; feedback after assessment; power skills workshops; group coaching; case studies; business talent & intelligence; power networking tool; and awareness capsules.
Netherlands
Cultural Fair
The Cultural Fair held at the Amsterdam Zuidoost Office was a vibrant celebration of diversity and inclusion. Organized by the Netherlands DE&I team, the fair provided a platform for our employees from various nationalities to showcase their rich cultural heritage. The event was a delightful amalgamation of traditions, cuisines, and customs, allowing everyone to immerse themselves in the fascinating tapestry of global cultures. Through this engaging experience, colleagues had the invaluable opportunity to connect on a personal level, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for one another. The Cultural Fair was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended and reinforcing the importance of embracing diversity within our workplace community.
North America
Gender Transition Toolkit
In North America and Germany, we have rolled out Gender Transition Toolkits to inform employees, managers, and HR Business partners about how we support employees who are transitioning gender. The guidelines and information included are intended to enable an employee to transition with as much ease, comfort, and support as the company can provide. Because every transition is unique, these guidelines are considered a resource through which an employee can make informed decisions, have supported conversations, and create their own unique path. The Gender Transition Toolkit aims to help employees express their gender identity, characteristics, or expression without fear of negative workplace consequences.
Poland
Healthcare Flexible Work Guide
One of the main topics that Polish Healthcare DE&I Team is engaged with is inclusivity in relations between field force and office colleagues, as well as in the flexible work arrangements. So, when the local Leadership Team initiated work on Healthcare Flexible Guide, our Team proposed best practice rules for cooperation between field force and office colleagues. Now we want to tackle inclusion during the hybrid meetings!
Spain
ClosinGap
Under the umbrella of our Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HWHE) program, we launched the ClosinGap project in Spain in 2018, in a collective effort with some of the most important companies in the country. It is an initiative that aims to identify inequalities and analyze what costs they have for the different sectors of the economy. We are advocating via ClosinGap in Spain for policies and actions in favor of equal opportunities for women and men, in order to contribute to equity, economic development and growth, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ClosinGap promotes social transformation from the business sphere and acts as a reference cluster in close collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Wash United Menstruation Awareness
The Family Foundation has been supporting “WASH United” since 2019. The organization educates people worldwide about menstruation. Often, women are unable to reach their full potential because of a lack of education and tools, and the monthly period can lead to stigmatization. With help from Family Foundation , materials have been developed and tens of thousands of girls have been trained in Africa and Asia. A digital platform is also emerging, as are new approaches to make commitments measurable and binding.
Switzerland
Parental Leave Achievements
To be more inclusive toward non-traditional or adoptive families, Switzerland transitioned from using the term “Paternity leave” to “Second Care Giver leave” by introducing a new Parental leave policy in 2020. This allows for all non-biological parents or clearly identified Second Care givers a longer and more flexible leave. Secondary care giver leave now extends to six weeks paid leave, to be taken at any point during the child’s first year. This employee benefit addresses the need for better gender equality in a workplace where women and men can enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations.
Taiwan
A better Future: DE&I in Healthcare
Alongside Womany Media Group, a prestigious and gender-friendly media community in Taiwan, we held a collaborative forum under the theme of "A Better Future- DE&I in Healthcare". The forum is the first of its kind in Taiwan to raise DE&I awareness in the healthcare industry. The aim is to initiate dialogues on how to improve DE&I culture in hospitals, enhance healthcare quality, strengthen doctor-patient relationships, and inspire innovations for better treatments. The event invited many key opinion leaders from the healthcare industry to share their experiences and stories in the panel discussion. Through this forum, we seek to build thought leadership to foster DE&I culture in healthcare and to introduce DE&I mindset in the leadership level of the industry. We look forward to continuously paving the way for an inclusive healthcare workplace with our partners.
United Kingdom
Autism Advocacy ERG - Neurodiversity Education
In response to employee feedback, The United Kingdom Disability Network hosted a 90-minute interactive workshop around the topic of neurodiversity. In addition, a manager training was rolled out that included two modules on learning management system, each approximately 15-20 minutes to work through: “Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Adjustments” and “Mental Health in the Workplace”. A free e-learning sourced from ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) became available and a government-funded independent public body worked to facilitate & improve workplace relations. Through this initiative, the UK Autism Advocacy ERG worked to support employers & line managers to further understand expectations/requirements.
United Kingdom
Menopause Policy & Support Program
In the United Kingdom, we launched the first official Menopause Policy and rolled out support programs to help people manage menopause symptoms in the workplace. According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, in a survey of 1,000 adults in the UK, the British Menopause Society found that 45% of women felt that menopausal symptoms had a negative impact on their work. Also, 47% reported that when they needed to take a day off work due to menopause symptoms, they felt they couldn’t be transparent with their employer. Based on this, the new menopause policy supports people impacted by menopause and is accompanied by listening circles for employees to ask questions and voice feedback, along with eighteen “Menopause Champions” established across the UK who have volunteered to act as additional support for colleagues where needed.
United States
Leaders of Color Summer Camp
Camp Leaders of Color is our very own virtual, multi-cultural, STEM-inspired summer camp for kids. Launched in the summer of 2020, Camp LoC was established with four key objectives in mind. First, to help our employees with young families balance work and life. Second, to spark our children's curiosity in other countries, nationalities and cultures. Third, to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging. Lastly, to use positive role models of color to instill in children the desire to become scientists and doctors. The camp format features a daily live session, followed by independent STEM-based activities. The camp has become so popular that attendees have grown from around 90 children in its inaugural year to 300 campers in 2023.

Our Path Forward

As we embark on the next phase of our journey to create a workplace where everyone feels welcome, valued and appreciated, we are committed to being intentional and accountable in executing our DE&I strategy. We recognize the importance of seeking diverse perspectives and engaging in honest and courageous conversations to deliver the best solutions for our patients, customers and communities. From our senior leaders to our front-line employees, we will model inclusive behaviors and take a stand against bias.

Contact us

What do you think? How can we better accelerate positive change in our company or with our customers and partners? Do you have any other feedback for us? Reach out and tell us about it with an email to NADiversity@emdgroup.com.

Renee Connolly

Chief DE&I Officer