Global Market Outlook on Clinical Staffing

  • Life sciences and biotechnology companies are increasing their use of outsourced labor through CROs and staffing firms to meet the increased capacity of their workforce. As a result of outsourcing, these clients will benefit from cost structure advantages, improved flexibility in addressing fluctuating demand, and access to greater expertise
  • Between 2008 to 2017, the biggest surge of newly registered trials was seen in the regions of East Asia (+220 percent), Japan (+90 percent), South Asia (+45 percent), Southeast Asia (+45 percent), the Middle East (+35 percent), Africa (+30 percent) and Latin America (+20 percent). The developed markets of the US and Europe saw a rise of +36 percent and +32 percent respectively;thus, increasing the demand for clinical staffing
  • Due to the increased demand for skilled clinical resources globally, many established CROs like ICON, PRAHS, Parexel, PPDi, Quintiles etc., have expanded their functional services into clinical functional resourcing services

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Clinical Staffing Market

  • Life sciences and biotechnology companies are increasing their use of outsourced labor through CROs and staffing firms to meet the increased capacity of their workforce. As a result of outsourcing, these clients will benefit from cost structure advantages, improved flexibility in addressing fluctuating demand, and access to greater expertise
  • Between 2008 to 2016, the biggest surge of newly registered trials was seen in the regions of East Asia (+220 percent), Japan (+90 percent), South Asia (+45 percent), Southeast Asia (+45 percent), the Middle East (+35 percent), Africa (+30 percent) and Latin America (+20 percent). The developed markets of the US and Europe saw a rise of +36 percent and +32 percent respectively; thus, increasing the demand for clinical staffing
  • Due to the increased demand for skilled clinical resources globally, many established CROs like ICON, PRAHS, Parexel, PPDi, Quintiles etc., have expanded their functional services into clinical functional resourcing services

Growth Drivers and Constraints

Drivers

Clinical Trials Increase Drives Clinical Staffing Needs:

  • An increase in newly registered trials was seen in the regions of East Asia (+220 percent), Japan (+90 percent), South Asia (+45 percent), Southeast Asia (+45 percent), the Middle East (+35 percent), Africa (+30 percent) and Latin America (+20 percent).The developed markets of the US and Europe saw a rise of +36 percent and +32 percent respectively.

Demand from Multiple Client Bases:

  • Though pharma companies have the biggest spend (> 40 percent) in terms of clinical staffing, suppliers also cater to medical device, biotechnology, consumer health etc.

Diversification in Clinical Trial Types:

  • The conduct of small population studies in various therapeutic areas such as Oncology, Rare Diseases, across regions has created a need to have staff specialized in a particular TA with the local regulatory know-how

Constraints

Local Regulations:

  • Stringent regulations to conduct trials in certain emerging markets has restricted suppliers to provide resourcing solutions in these markets.

Limited Resource Availability:

  • Though markets of the US and Europe have >22 percent turnover rates for clinical/scientific staff, the emerging markets of Japan and China have limited number of qualified employees. This in turn causes a supply crunch, slowing down the staffing market.

Market Trends

CROs Expansion into Staffing

  • With increasing clinical trials globally, CROs are setting up FSP units for staffing, wherein CROs engage with pharma companies through master vendor/supplier, function service provider or hybrid model
  • As a result of war on talent and increasing demand for clinical resources, CROs will continue to establish functional resourcing units either as a separate entity (Docs Global of Icon) or have FSP units - CoSource of Covance 

Stabilized Mergers & Acquisition’s

  • The year 2016 saw a 29 percent expansion, from 50 percent in 2013, wherein CROs where expanding their FSP capabilities globally across therapies; and client sectors like medical device, diagnostics
  • Slow and stable M&A’s will continue as major CROs have already set up FSP resourcing units 
  • UK healthcare staffing provider, Independent Clinical Services, acquired Proclinical.
  • ProClinical complements the ICS life sciences staffing brand, also its presence in five countries will help ICS grow in the global life science staffing market

CRO turnover rates increase

  • Turnover for clinical monitoring jobs among CROs saw an increase of up to 25 percent in 2016 from 16.4 percent in 2014 globally
  • This was a result of the 7 percent salary increase, with CRAs getting the highest hike. Additionally, signing and retention bonuses were implemented by CROs

War on Talent

  • Pharma is balancing between overall cost reduction objective and rising FTE rates. Shortened contract terms to manage risk at a gradually growing FTE rate is observed
  • This is due to CROs paying high salary along with performance bonus to retain talent
  • The war of talent will further increase, creating higher demand for CRA’s. CROs will continue to pay premiums to retain talent

Future Trends

  • Mid size CROs would further expand into resourcing, as the demand for insourcing and FSP models from pharma companies would increase
  • CROs would in the future move more jobs to low cost countries for certain job roles(data management, biostatistics etc.), thus freeing up spend for other key areas such as clinical monitoring
  • Internal talent development programs within CROs would be seen as an alternative to retain and build talent