BioPharma Insight (BPI) recently released its Contract Research Organisation Report for the third quarter of 2016.

BPI notes that there is a shortage of staff in the clinical research sphere, and that this is a growing trend. The biggest global shortage is for Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) and Clinical Trial Associates (CTAs), and as volumes of clinical trials increase, understaffing is likely to worsen. Before pharmaceutical companies started to outsource their trials, many of them would hire and train graduates. However, it has been argued that both Pharma and Contract Research Organisations (CROs) don’t do enough to provide the critical training many of their staff need. CROs have been recently hit by lowering margins and, as a result, the training provisions ring-fenced for employees are reduced.

Although there is a shift in pharma companies beginning to bring their studies in-house, this means they are now competing with the large CRO industry in attracting talent and thus creating an increase in hiring costs.

The Association of Clinical Research Associates (ACRP) has launched competency domains for CRAs, aiming for standardisation of the competencies of the clinical trial workforce working with pharma companies, CROs, academic institutions and professional societies. However, as the problem exists today and the benefits of training can take years to develop, it may take some time to see the benefits. On top of this, many clinical professionals will retire in the next 10 years, creating a further talent gap if training provision isn’t addressed in time.

Failing to address this skill shortage could create a number of other problems, and ultimately leading to longer waiting times for people needing the medicine, but also raising the cost of hiring personnel for both CROs and pharma companies.

Joe Long, Principle Life Sciences Consultant in our Sydney office, commented:

“With the supply of Clinical Staff with local Australian experience on the decline, now more than ever it’s important for clients to consider the benefits of working with a specialist recruitment partner. Most CRAs in Australia are reasonably happy in their current roles and won’t be searching the web for new job adverts. NES Global Talent specialise in matching the needs of our client with the skill sets and cultural fit of our candidates. We have become a key supplier to a number of local and global CRO / Sponsor clients in recent years - our success has been earned though our ability to work with niche candidates that wouldn’t be otherwise found on LinkedIn or SEEK.”

NES Global Talent has over 15 years of experience recruiting for life science jobs across the world, including the clinical research market. If you are looking for support hiring candidates, please visit our life science recruitment page.