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CRO industry sees salary budgets increase across the board, survey finds

By Zachary Brennan , 15-Apr-2014
Last updated the 15-Apr-2014 at 12:02 GMT

A recent study found that CRO employees are seeing rapid budget increases for salaries across the globe, with an average increase of about 4% for 2014.

Argentina saw the highest average budget increase, with a more than 16% rise in 2014, based on projections.

The highest reported salary increase worldwide also rose to 25% in 2014, which compared to 21% in 2013, according to the 2013-2014 CRO Industry Global Salary Planning Survey conducted by HR+Survey Solutions.

Judy Canavan, partner at HR+Survey, told Outsourcing-pharma.com “I think what’s most important is that companies are global and can’t use a US centric approach to salaries.”

CROs increasingly need “to keep a finger on the pulse of each company outside the US,” or on their branches or offices outside the US to retain top talent, she said.

For this latest survey, Canavan and others interviewed 10 CROs, including the largest global ones, she said, noting that the “nature of the industry is now global in terms of the war on talent.”

Some other countries with higher than typical budget increases included China and India, Caravan said. The country with the lowest average budget increase is Portugal with an average increase budget of only 1.8%.

Canavan noted that two factors seemed to drive budget increases: Demand for employees to fill positions as there’s a dearth of talent in some locations that will drive salary increases; and other inflationary pressures.

Companies need to know what each country is doing and keep on top of it from year to year. Last year, the amount that companies budgeted versus what they actually did was slightly lower,” she said, which can amount to the difference between hiring additional employees or not.

The survey found that while 60% of the actual increases for 2013 were less than budgeted, interestingly, 60% of the budgeted increases for 2014 are larger than actual increases in 2013.

A lot of surveys are done in the fall, but this was run in January to get a better look at updated budgets,” she said.

A similar survey from HR+Survey last year also found that companies were increasingly using bonuses to retain top talent, though turnover rates remain high in both the US and abroad.

This recent survey also underscores the December survey showing there are still high turnover rates, which will further drive salary increases, Canavan said.

Other findings from the study include:

  • The country reporting the largest budget increase from 2013 to 2014 was Indonesia, with an average planned increase that was up 3% from last year, from 5.7% to 8.6% budgets;
  • The average budgeted increase for the US is 3% for 2014 which is in line with general industry; and
  • Most surveys are projecting 2014 salary increase budgets to hover around 3%.

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