Dearth of Professional Education Support Fuels High Employee Turnover

Jim Kremidas, ACRP Executive Director

Jim Kremidas, ACRP Executive Director

Human resources professionals will tell you it’s job satisfaction—not salary—that’s often the most important factor when retaining employees. A new survey of clinical research professionals affirms it.

Survey participants who work for pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical companies are generally satisfied with their salary and compensation, but not satisfied with their current position, according to the new Industry Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey Report from SCORR Marketing. “Conversely, those who work for research sites are the lowest paid; though they are not especially happy with this part of their job, they are by far the most satisfied with their job overall,” the report notes.

That’s not surprising to Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. “I consistently hear from our members and others how important it is for employers to financially support them for training,” he says.

Establishing certifications tied to demonstrated skills, and not tenure, will further advance the professionalization and career path of the clinical trial workforce, adds Kremidas, who has written on this topic recently for Outsourcing-Pharma.com and Clinical Leader. Other industry thought leaders have echoed this at speaking engagements and in publications such as Clinical Researcher.


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“Employers will improve retention rates if they can become a career partner with their team members,” Kremidas says. “The ACRP Workforce Innovation Steering Committee is developing career paths that can be used to help staff in their development.”

Among those who work for industry groups such as pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical companies or contract research organizations, there is a general dissatisfaction with the level of training and continuing education received and career development opportunities, the survey found. On a 5-point scale where 5 is best and 1 is worst, most aspects of training/education had ratings just over 3, and all aspects of career development had average ratings below 3.

“This general dissatisfaction leads to disproportionately high percentage of people looking for new jobs,” according to the survey report. Consequently, about two in five respondents were currently seeking to change jobs.

As reported frequently in CRbeat, a lack of employer-sponsored training and development continues to be one of the most potent forces contributing to stubbornly high turnover rates across the clinical trial workforce.

Author: Michael Causey