When discussing the upcoming year of the lunar calendar (2014 is the year of the wood horse) a Chinese finance director recently told me that in 1954, the most recent “wood horse” year, the Dow Jones Industrial average recorded its biggest one year gain (a 54% increase), and finally recaptured the highs of 1929. We can only hope that this year will be as bright.
Whether or not the Dow experiences the steep lift of the mid 1950s only time will tell, but we do know that within the pharmaceutical industry, the hottest areas of demand are coming from clinical research organizations (CROs) such as Covance. The demand for clinical research associates and clinical project managers is far greater than the supply.
In fact, we may look back at 2014 as the year of the CRO. A number of CRO’s have experienced strong double-digit growth for the past several years, and do not appear to be facing any slowdown. The only constraint on their growth is finding the right people. Clearly, employees that have chosen CRO’s can now look forward to bright career paths. Strong growth naturally equates to increased opportunities for career advancement when compared to the manufacturers, simply because there is a transference of responsibility from to the other. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly dependent on CROs, and the CRO sector is expanding and hiring aggressively.
Employees of pharmaceutical companies are now seeing CROs differently than they once did. Once upon a time, the mere mention of a CRO to employees at Pfizer, GSK, or Novartis had them making a face like they’d just swallowed a spoonful of Junmaisu (Japanese rice vinegar). However, job candidates now understand that if their calling is in clinical development, the option of working at a CRO is often a strong alternative.
Potential employees see CROs as able to provide them with careers that are focused on global trials, and for some, the flexibility of working from home and enjoying the work/life balance that flexi time provides.
CROs have strong commitments to employee training and professional growth, with some companies investing heavily in courses that offer comprehensive certification programs for project practitioners of all education and skill levels.
In the past, we would sometimes hear candidates complain about the quality of work at CROs, but today, many of the project managers at global CROs are the best and the brightest, and formerly worked for multinational companies.
We’re sure that in this year of the horse, pharmaceutical companies will increase their reliance on working with CROs to reduce costs. Job candidates do not all hold the viewpoint that working for manufacturers is the more prestigious endeavor, and many talented clinical professionals are joining or considering joining CROs for reasons such as greater job stability, higher salaries, and quicker career advancement.
At the beginning of any year our hearts are filled with a mix of excitement, anxiety and anticipation. CRO’s are no longer the unpopular kid in the school yard. They are a part of the “cool” group and quickly winning the hearts and minds of Asia’s finest clinical talent.
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Morunda www.morunda.com should be your choice of recruiting partner in Japan and Asia Pacific. Why? Because we live and breathe the pharmaceutical industry in Asia and the Pacific—we’re specialists!