Lack of Clear Career Paths Chasing Employees Out the Door

Report Highlights Role of Professional Development in Clinical Research Talent Retention

Report Highlights Role of Professional Development in Clinical Research Talent Retention

A perceived lack of professional advancement and career development opportunities are the two biggest factors driving clinical trial professionals to seek employment elsewhere.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a new survey by SCORR Marketing and Applied Clinical Trials. With just over 40% of respondents reporting they were currently looking for a new job, nearly half said a dearth of professional advancement was the single biggest factor beckoning them out the door. Interestingly, inadequate salary was cited by just over 20%, suggesting that job satisfaction, fueled by a clear career path, is more important when trying to reduce churn in a competitive market.

Nearly 60% of respondents were members of an industry association or organization; the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) was the top-ranked organization, with about one-third of those respondents saying they were members.

Access to news and information was the factor most often cited by those who are members of an association, with nearly 60% saying it prompted them to sign up. Educational opportunities were a close second, at about 55%.


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As employers debate whether to pay for an employee’s membership in a professional association, it’s interesting to report one of the survey’s core conclusions: “There is a general dissatisfaction with the level of training and education received.” On a 5-point scale where 5 is best and 1 is worst, most aspects of training/education had average ratings just over 3, and all aspects of career development had average ratings below 3.

“This general dissatisfaction leads to a disproportionately high percentage of people looking for new jobs,” the survey summary reports. “Organizations might consider both improving the training and continuing education programs and career development opportunities to improve employee satisfaction and possibly favorably impact employee retention.”

Most of the respondents work for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, contract research organizations, research sites, or academic institutions. About two-thirds of the respondents are in North America.

Author: Michael Causey