Millennials Won’t Wait Around for Annual Salary Reviews

You’ve just gotten a great performance review from your boss at the end of your first year as a clinical research associate (CRA) or in some other job with a contract research organization (CRO). You’ve grown quickly in the position, working hard by taking courses, attending conferences, and making that extra effort to excel. Then you get a 4% raise and are told you’ll get a salary review at the same time next year. Your boss was trying to thank you and encourage you to stay on the team. So, why are you leaving his or her office thinking about updating your resume?

“If you are early in your career, a year seems like a long time,” says Judy Canavan, global employer services managing director in BDO’s Philadelphia Office. “The [raise] percentage that is provided in a typical merit budget is not keeping pace with those first few years of hands-on experience, where the value of the employee is increasing at a much higher rate,” she adds.

Millennials have different expectations in the workforce. While more senior employees are accustomed to the rhythm of the annual performance and raise, millennials often want more attention.

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Inability to retain these younger employees is one of the drivers of an astonishing 26% turnover rate in clinical monitoring in 2017, according the BDO’s “2018/2019 CRO Industry Compensation, Turnover, and Plan Design Trends Report.” Turnover rates are higher in the U.S., and the gap between voluntary and involuntary turnover continues to widen. In 2017, 19% of the turnover was due to the employee deciding to move on, compared to 6% being of an involuntary nature.

Stratospheric CRA turnover levels are driven by a number of factors, and compensation is chief among them. “Companies may want to consider increasing their use of incentives,” the BDO report says. In high turnover situations, incentives can save wage costs, since the incentive may not need to be paid out to employees who leave. “Incentives are also a form of a short-term retention with the well-known caveat that employees may still leave after the annual bonus is paid,” the report adds.

Author: Michael Causey