The Hiring Challenge in CROs

Feb 9, 2017 | Data Based, Market Insights

Over the past few years outsourcing clinical trials to specialised organisations has become increasingly popular among pharmaceutical companies. It is a common way to reduce internal expenditure so as to invest more into other areas, primarily R&D for staying competitive in the face of patent expirations on some of the pharma giants’ flagship products.

The lengthy and costly process of clinical research is primarily outsourced to Contract Research Organisations (CROs). However, in recent years those have been struggling with a staffing shortage, as covered by a report from BioPharm Insight. The key deficit area is Clinical specialists themselves; BioPharm flags Clinical Trial Associates (CTAs) and Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) as the roles that CROs have the most trouble finding trained candidates for.

Vacancy data shows that while hiring patterns in CROs were largely flat in 2016, vacancies in clinical roles fell throughout the year. January 2017 saw the most openings in CROs overall since last April, but vacancy levels remained at a two-year low when considering only clinical openings. This may put predictions that the CRO market will be on a rise through to 2020 under question.

If training processes for clinical staff fail to pick up their pace, that may trigger a supply-and-demand problem in outsourcing clinical trials, for which the demand is indeed high. Clinical Professionals commented last year that in order to address this CROs would need to take more decisive steps to fill the skills gap while maintaining quality levels in clinical operations. As part of meeting that requirement, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) has taken steps towards standardising competency standards for CRAs, with the aim of optimising the workflow in CROs.

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Author: Jan Pawlowski
Data Analyst


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