Recent Hiring and Compensation Trends

Evidence of labor market tightening is seen in declining unemployment rates, rising vacancy durations and less job applicants:

  • February unemployment was at the lowest rate since May 2008 and also declined to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent in the previous month.1
  • Economists expect a jobless rate of below 5% by year’s end. 2
  • The average number of work days from time of vacancy until a job offer is made has increased to 25.7 working days, an increase of 3.5 days from last January. However, more specialized sectors, such as the information sector hover in the 37 day vacancy range.  Also, keep in mind that there is another lag prior to the person starting work after the offer is made.3
  • Currently, there are 1.7 job seekers for every job opening, when at the height of the recession there were 7 for every opening. 1

Sixty-three percent of employers cite retaining top employees as their primary compensation objective.5 Some reasons for this high concern are:

  • A recent survey by Lee Hecht Harrison states that 48 percent of employees are ready to make a job switch.
  • 2015 wage growth, projected to be 2.6% by December, is expected to see the fastest growth since 2008.2
  • New hire compensation, in both the manufacturer and service sectors, represented four year highs for the month of February.4
  • The number one reason people are leaving in medium and large companies is compensation.5
  • The median cost of turnover for most jobs is about 21% of an employee’s annual salary, according the Center for American Progress.

These numbers can be seen as much higher for the pharmaceutical industry.  FDA finished 2014 with 41 drug approvals, up from 2013’s 27 and, according to a Reuters report, the highest level of approvals since 1996.  The launch and post launch phase of a drug’s life cycle is one of the most resource intense periods for the commercial operations side of the business.  In addition, the lack of individuals with science backgrounds has been well documented in recent news.

Thirty-seven percent of positions in professional, scientific and tech sectors will be competitive.5   In order to increase the probability of onboarding these candidates requires outside recruiting services in better securing and negotiating placements.

The picture that all of these statistics paint is one of a job market in which it takes a long time to fill a position and in which some jobs ultimately do not get filled.  But there are a few steps you can take now to get ahead of your competition in acquiring the best talent available, such as:

  • Enlist the services of a recruiter that specializes in your industry and functional area.
  • Work with your recruiter to proactively recruit for positions you expect to fill in the upcoming year.
  • Implement steps to retain your current employees

Sources: 1) BLS February 2015 report; 2) WSJ Survey: Economists See 2015 GDP Growth at 3%; 3) Dice-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure, March 2015; 4)Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Line Employment Report for March 2015; 5) Payscale, Inc – 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report

RomAnalytics is Now WBENC-Certified

Collegeville, PA – August 1, 2014

RomAnalytics is certified as a women’s business enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of the businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S.

RomAnalytics recognizes the commitment to supplier diversity that is embraced by corporations and government agencies today and we can add diversity to your supply chain.

When to Hire a Pharma Market Research Contractor

The USA Today recently ran an article entitled, “Temporary Jobs Becoming a Permanent Fixture” with the following astounding figures:
shutterstock_158114522• About 12% of all U.S. workers have temporary/contract/freelance jobs
• The number of temp workers jumped 50% since the recession ended four years ago
• 75% of economists the Associated Press surveyed said the rise in temp jobs is a longstanding trend

It can be assumed that the market uncertainty felt by many companies has led them to shy away from longer term permanent employee commitments and turn to contractors, who can fill a specific need for a specific period of time. The pharmaceutical industry has not been untouched by the market’s recent uncertainty, as evidenced by recent across the board cost cutting mandates. For companies that have not embraced outsourcing for their market research functions now may be the time to adopt the practice.

Pharmaceutical hiring managers may want to consider hiring a pharmaceutical market research contractor in the following circumstances:

• Pre-clinical to phase III commercial drug development is often the most intense period for market research engagement. This is also one of the most uncertain of times when approval of the product is in question and fund spend is highly monitored. This presents the ideal opportunity for hiring a market research contractor. The company gains a highly experienced individual, yet mitigates its risk by either turning the contractor into a full-time employee when the product is approved or ending the individual’s contract when the product is not approved.

• It can take months to fill a permanent market research position. These are typically months where you have budgeted funds for that position and at the same time have work to be fulfilled by the open post. A contractor is a much quicker hire and can assist with getting that work completed until you on-board the permanent post.

• High intensity / short term projects are also ideal events that can warrant a contractor. Unforeseen market events are a common occurrence within pharmaceutical markets. Events such as product recalls, competitive market changes, and government policy changes may require a highly skilled individual with a certain expertise, such as a forecaster, for a short period of time.

• Contractor assignments on lower intensity / longer term projects such as ongoing market report creation and distribution is a way to free up your more experienced permanent staff to work on the business critical tasks and at the same time increasing their employee morale.

There are many examples I have not mentioned here and you probably have a few thoughts of your own. You may want to look ahead to the future and think of your future endeavors where a contractor would be of valuable assistance. In particular, think of contracting as an option during the budgeting process when a permanent employee may not be a possibility.

Roman Consulting Announces New Name – RomAnalytics, LLC

Established Market Research and Analytics Company Changes Name, Reflecting its Core Business

Collegeville, PA – February 25, 2013 – Roman Consulting, a provider of market research and analytics specializing in the life science industry, today announced the formal launch of its new name – RomAnalytics, LLC. This change is part of a rebranding effort to emphasize our commitment to the market research and analytics field.  “We pride ourselves on our ability to develop and execute timely and actionable results based on sound market research and analytic methods, and felt the need to create a name and associated brand that told that story,” says President, Kathy Roman.

RomAnalytics is the trusted partner for market research and analytics outsourcing.  Services include augmenting staff for temporary or long-term assignments.  The company has provided services to life science manufacturers and market research and data analytic suppliers for over five years.  Our staff has direct experience in managing all aspects of primary and secondary analysis; as well as a keen understanding of specialty markets and the reimbursement landscape.

This change in name does not reflect any change in ownership, leadership, or direction. For more information, please visit RomAnalytics website at or contact us at

Pharma’s Contraction Leads to Outsourcing Hires

In a study conducted by KPMG market research and analytics were found to be one of the key functions outsourced as part of the development process.  This is logical, especially at the time of opportunity assessment when success of product launch is uncertain and headcount to support the product prior to launch is less likely budgeted.

Pharma R&D Outsourcing
Source: KPMG: “Outsourcing in the Pharmaceutical Industry 2011 and Beyond”, Charles Arnold and Vicki Phelan

Pharma’s Contraction Leads to Outsourcing Hires

Upstart Business Journal
by Julie M. Donnelly August 14, 2010  |  3:21pm EDT

A recently released Global Life Sciences Hiring Index, conducted by ZRG Partners—which included 30 of the largest pharma, biotech, medical-device, and services and outsourcing firms in the United States—found that services and outsourcing firms are hiring at the fastest rate in the sector.

It also found that the current hiring rate in services was 500 percent higher than in pharmaceutical companies, and 250 percent based than in medical-device firms, on a per-employee basis.

Several factors are at play, including consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry that has led to large numbers of layoffs, particularly among sales and marketing staff—to the advantage of services firms. For instance, the hiring index found that sales and marketing jobs represented only 19 percent of available open positions, down from 30 percent in 2007. The vast number of patents that are about to expire also lowers the need for more salespeople, as market share of branded drugs is expected to dwindle following generic competition.

The so-called “patent cliff” also boosts hiring at outsourcing firms, as pharmaceutical companies increasingly engage contract research organizations (CROs) in an effort to speed up development of new drugs.

“Many of these pharma companies are coming out of a hard 10-year period when research and development was not that productive. They are likely engaged in a new business model. They are not investing less in research and development, but they are more deliberate in how they spend it,” said Josef von Rickenbach, CEO of Parexel. Von Rickenbach and others said that it has been easier to recruit good talent lately, because CROs have less competition from pharmaceutical and biotech companies for the same candidates, and because the image of CROs as a workplace is evolving in a positive direction.

“Five years ago, I couldn’t recruit for a CRO. Candidates didn’t want to hear it, they thought it was minor league,” said Steve Tosches, managing director of life sciences at ZRG Partners. But Tosches said that has changed, as pharmaceutical jobs become more unstable. Tosches said that outsourcing is now often seen as a crucial cost-containment measure for cash-hungry biotechs, as well as pharma companies, post-recession.

“This is a matter of survival. They can’t just sit back and take VC money anymore and wait to be acquired or for an IPO, because that might not happen. They have to leverage expertise from outside the organization, to move ahead quicker,” Tosches said.

For more on how pharma’s contraction is helping outsourcing firms, see the full story from the Boston Business Journal.

The Acronym Inner Circle

We’ve all been there. We’ve gone into our first meeting in our new job at a new company and sat there nodding our heads in agreement with the speaker, only to walk out of the meeting thinking, “What the heck was that all about?” There was something about the SOPs of filling in the BSCs in order to complete the MICPs by the end of the year. Did anyone think to provide new employees with a handbook of company frequently used acronyms? Of course they didn’t and for good reason. It’s an earned rite of passage to emerge into the league of the acronym inner circle.

We move in and out of several acronym inner circles in our lives. We volunteer for the PTA then move into the AARP and along the way volunteer for the HBA. The earned rite of passage is sometimes a slow process where there are only a few acronyms to learn to join the inner circle. Sometimes it can take several months or years before one is totally educated on all the acronyms. However, once the encryption is decoded and we speak to others in the circle we know we have arrived into an elite league. If you have reached this point in your respective groups, you can consider yourself an expert.

The new age of health reform policy has served as a catalyst for a new acronym inner circle to emerge. Not only has the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA) put the wheels in motion for expanding insurance coverage to millions of Americans, it has also expanded the list of ‘need to know’ acronyms by about just as many; thus, creating a new acronym inner circle. I’ve sat in several meetings and conferences where the experts (those who know the code) spilled out the various acronyms of policy to enlighten those of us who were still earning our rites of passage. However, someone forgot the no acronym handbook rule. The Alliance for Health Reform has issued a coveted list of acronyms and definitions for health reform policy at Now, armed with a code book, I have secretly accelerated my journey into the health reform policy acronym inner circle.

As a whole, I like acronym inner circles. They provide me a simple gauge to monitor my expertise in a certain area. I realize that at about the same time I can spill out every acronym in the circle that it correlates with it being time for me to move into another circle and begin learning some new acronyms. So next time you find yourself deciphering ubiquitous acronym code delight in the fact that you are in the process of becoming a member of another acronym inner circle in your life’s journey.

See here where not understanding inner circle code led George Costanza:

Recruiting and Staffing Specialists for Life Sciences