CRO salaries expected to rise in 2015 as companies look to retain top talent

By Zachary Brennan contact

- Last updated on GMT

CRO salaries expected to rise in 2015 as companies look to retain top talent
The average budgeted merit salary increase for 2015 topped out at 4.14%, which is up slightly from 2014’s average of 3.94% and significantly higher than 2014’s actual increase of 3.7%, according to a recent survey of 11 top global CROs (contract research organizations) conducted by HR+Survey Solutions. 

The survey shows that CROs continue to be worried about employee turnover, which is likely why the budgeted increases were higher in 2015 than 2014, Judy Canavan, managing partner at HRSS, told

However, on average, companies’ actual 2014 merit increase were .25 percentage points less than budgeted.

One of the key issues for a CRO is the high turnover rate, which doesn’t make their sponsors very happy…sponsors look at turnover rates when they decide on which CRO to use​,” Canavan added.

The highest reported salary increase budget by any company for 2015 is 30%, which is up from 21% in 2014. The country with the highest average budgeted increase is again Argentina with an average increase of 20% planned for 2015, up from an average budget of 13.9% for 2014.

Canavan said the situation in Argentina is likely tied to inflation and the Argentinian economy. Other outliers from the study seemed to confirm that a country’s economy weighed heavily on the study. The countries with the lowest average budget increases are Greece and Portugal, with an average increase budget of only 1.8%.

For US, by comparison, the average budgeted increases in 2015 are 2.9%, “which is a lot lower than the global average​,” Canavan said, noting that the lower rate can be attributed to more talent and the stability of the US economy. The budgeted rate “is essentially the same as last year​,” she added.

Hong Kong had the largest gap between actual and budgeted in 2014 with the average actual merit increase .85 percentage points below budgeted, though Canavan said she did not know what is causing this gap. Belgium also had the lowest actual merit increase in 2014 at 1.7%.

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