By Danielle Starke, inSeption Group
The clinical research industry has evolved greatly in recent years. Changes have been prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the emergence of more effective decentralized clinical trial (DCT) tools and methodologies; increasing vendor competition; and plenty of work to go around. The result is a hiring market that offers job-seekers — across numerous skillsets — greater opportunity than ever to find a role, organization, and/or company culture that align with their values and ambition.
Conversely, hiring has seemingly become more challenging for employers in a market where, arguably, if an employee leaves, the organization suffers more than the individual. Accordingly, CROs and (bio)pharma organizations have pushed to improve their offerings to secure valuable talent. This manifests as large sign-on bonuses, higher-than-expected salaries (i.e., relevant to the position or the candidate’s experience/expertise), attractive training or advancement opportunities, and more.
In the past, the only path forward in this industry was similar to the military: time in rank and time in service (i.e., to the company). Prior to the pandemic, a person might need to serve as a coordinator, a nurse, or a clinical trial assistant (CTA) for years before being considered for training as a CRA or a remote site monitor (RSM). As you built experience and a reputation for trustworthiness, your options would open to work at smaller biotechs or niche CROs — companies generally considered better to work for because they engage fewer sites, juggle fewer studies at once, and/or must navigate fewer sponsor personalities. That has changed based on how much more work currently is available.