Globalization and high demand are prompting more CROs to add bonuses to retain and acquire talent.
The 15th annual CRO Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey, conducted by HR+Survey Solutions, found employee turnover rate at US CROs (contract research organizations) remained at 18.6% in 2012, which compared with 19.7% in 2011.
The slight decrease in turnover in the US was offset by the turnover rate among CROs abroad, with rates rising from 17.8% in 2011 to nearly 22% in 2012.
The trend was seen for most roles with the exception of project managers, which saw a decrease in turnover - from 21% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2012.
Judy Canavan, partner of HR+Survey, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com that the latest survey of 20 small, medium and large, global CROs across 34 countries shows the results are consistent with similar results released in March that found turnover “continues to be high” and may only decrease “when there’s a larger supply of these positions.”
She added that the higher rates outside the US might be attributable to the high demand for talent overseas and the global nature of the CRO business.
Despite the high turnover rates, companies are increasingly using bonuses to try to acquire and retain top talent.
The survey found a nearly 25% increase in companies utilizing recruitment bonuses, while more companies used bonuses to retain talented employees. Fifty‐three percent of companies reported using retention bonuses in 2012 versus 29% in 2011, according to a separate survey, called Prevalence of Recruitment and Retention Bonuses in the CRO Industry and conducted by HR+Survey.
Canavan said the survey found that companies were using the bonuses across the board – from non-exempt employees to executives.
“The war for talent isn’t only for high-level execs,” she said, noting that they found bonuses were being given to employees making as little as $60,000 annually. About 30% of companies surveyed used retention and recruitment bonuses for non-exempt employees.
“The rule of thumb is that bonuses aren’t meaningful if they’re less than 5% of an employee’s salary,” Caravan said, noting that many CROs use them strategically to reward employees that do not shift jobs during a clinical trial.
For 2013, the recruitment and retention bonuses are expected to continue: 87% said they would use recruitment bonuses and 78% said they would use retention bonuses.