Norway Tops Global Survey of Staff Turnover in CROs


Spare a thought for your Scandinavian colleagues who are running CROs

Spare a thought for your Scandinavian colleagues who are running CROs: staff turnover among companies in Norway was 47% in 2015, and the comparable figure for Denmark was 43%, according to the 18th annual CRO Industry Global Compensation and Turnover Survey conducted by HR+Survey Solutions, LLC.

More than half of the countries surveyed (24 of the 45) had average turnover of 20% or more. Others with high turnover rates were India (36%), New Zealand (33%), and Switzerland (30%), Taiwan (29%), Finland (28%), and China (28%).

In the U.S., overall staff turnover increased slightly to 20.1% in 2015 from 19.5% in 2014 for all positions in CROs. Turnover in the U.S. for clinical monitoring jobs at CROs remained high at 25.1% in 2015, compared with 25.4% in 2014, 16.4% in 2013, 24.4% in 2012, and 29.4% in 2011.

U.S. unemployment has continued to decline since it peaked in 2009, and currently is well below 5%. This means that CROs have an uphill battle identifying new talent sources.

“Turnover is a significant business issue; high turnover can undermine the relationship with a sponsor,” noted Judy Canavan, managing partner of HR+Survey Solutions and the author of the study. “Employees have figured out that changing jobs is the key to maximizing their compensation and rounding out their CV, companies need to create internal career opportunities.”

According to Canavan, the number of registered clinical trials has risen sharply from 24,921 in 2005 to 231,508 as of December 4, 2016 (source:

Other findings of the survey were:

  • Average salary levels for professional non-management positions in the survey increased by 7% from 2014 to 2015.

  • Average salaries increased by 6% for regulatory jobs and by 7% for safety/pharmacovigilance between 2015 and 2016.

  • Global turnover in clinical monitoring was 27.2% in 2011, 15.6% in 2012, 14.2% in 2013, and 17.9% in 2014.
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