Survey shows CROs focus on base salaries, staff turnover increasing outside US

Employees at clinical research organizations (CROs) receive lower annual and long term incentives than their counterparts in other industries, according to the 15th annual CRO Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey, conducted by HR+Survey Solutions, Inc.

According to the company’s press announcement, CRO industry executives in the U.S. with salaries of $250,000 were eligible for an average annual incentive of 31% of their salary and a long term incentive (LTI) of 27%. By comparison, similar levels of executives in other industries were eligible for annual incentives of 44% and LTIs of 50%.

Results of the study indicate that CRO pay is heavily weighted toward base salary. Salary represents nearly 50% of the compensation package for executives with annual incentives and LTIs of only 19 and 34%, respectively. At the director level, salary amounts to 86% of total direct compensation with only 13% annual incentives and 1% LTIs.

Although employee turnover dropped from nearly 20% in 2011 to approximately 18%, the rate at which employees leave their jobs in the U.S. CRO industry remained high. Conversely, in countries outside of the U.S., the turnover rate rose to 21% from approximately 18%. In some countries, turnover was more than 30%.