Today’s CRA job market is a candidate driven market. With 15 years in the Clinical Research Staffing industry I would hazard to guess things may not be this way forever, but until then talented CRA’s can pick and choose their assignments. One of the reasons many companies need to hire CRA’s is due to turnover within their own organizations. Turnover at some firms is so endemic they are forced to employ creative measures to retain CRA talent.
In our role as recruiters we’re in a unique position to really understand why CRA’s leave their jobs and outlined below is what we see.
Work Load is Overwhelming:
Most CRA’s who are entertaining a job change tell us the reason is because their work load is unbearable. They’re assigned too many sites, too many protocols, are travelling nationwide too often and have too many additional responsibilities not associated with monitoring. All these challenges make our job as recruiters quite easy. We simply present an opportunity with clients who have well defined work load expectations and good leadership. Every company has a set of expectations that differs from the next. The reason most CRA’s are happy is because their company understands what is reasonable for them to accomplish and to provide help if it becomes too much for any one person.
Most CRA’s are detail oriented, punctual and organized individuals dedicated to improving lives and advancing medical breakthroughs. When they’re overloaded with unrealistic demands on their time such as those mentioned above, the quality of their work undoubtedly suffers. Most CRA’s are flexible team players who understand the peaks and valleys of life as a CRA; however, when demands become unrealistic for one person to successfully accomplish and the quality of their work begins to suffer they feel compelled to make a change. In my opinion once a CRA feels their reputations are on the line most will seek to make a change. Changing jobs can be the easiest escape option while enabling them to keep their reputation intact.
Let’s face it, nearly everyone who works does it for the intrinsic rewards of their profession AND the money. CRA’s are no different. The days of outsized sign-on bonuses and ever increasing base salaries seems to have leveled off a bit recently, but salary increases and quality bonus plans still attract top performers. If a CRA is frustrated by their work load and can make extra money walking across the proverbial street to a competitor, they will undoubtedly look elsewhere and recruiters like us will be there to help.
The Market is Hot:
The first thing we all learned in high school economics is supply and demand. With more CRA positions open than candidates available to fill them, CRA’s are a hot commodity in the research world, If you have experience Monitoring Oncology trials you’ll have most recruiters bowing down with both hands or more likely incessantly calling, emailing and showing up in all manner of speaking. If we take a trip back to the recession there were two types of CRAs: those who were happy to be employed and those who were tirelessly looking. The tides have turned. If a CRA is feeling overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, has an underperforming manager or are just having a bad day, they have options. Typically they have multiple options tapping them on the shoulder each and every day.
Like every economy, the market is on a constant pendulum tipping back and forth. As long as there are opportunities to improve one’s lifestyle or salary, CRAs (or anyone for that matter) will continue to search to better their lives. Why wouldn’t they?