In-sourcing, Out-sourcing? The Answer is Resourcin
Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies are moving towards flexible human resource management by employing core permanent staff and utilising contract associates to meet short to medium term resourcing
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010
Answers for both those who have vacancies to fill and those who are actively looking for a new position
It is well recognised that a flexible approach to staffing is needed in order to meet the peaks and troughs of activity during the drug development process.
Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies are moving towards flexible human resource management by employing core permanent staff and utilising contract associates to meet short to medium term resourcing needs.
Such contract personnel are available through three main categories of organisation :
CRO’s may offer their own permanent employees who are not fully utilised on project work, to fill vacancies which pharmaceutical companies have available. This minimises staff ‘downtime’ and generates additional revenue for the CRO at the same time.
Candidates who are available with immediate effect are often those to whom preference is given. This means that there is still scope for CRO’s to offer their core staff for these vacancies but at the risk of swapping staff from client projects to work on contract assignments. The reverse of course can also be true. Not all CRO’s do this but purchasers of human resource should be aware of the risks involved.
General recruitment agencies have started to get wise to the steady profit that can be realised from hiring staff themselves and placing them on contract to client companies.
However, recruitment personnel often have little or no experience of working for the pharmaceutical industry and cannot have a full understanding of the types of people that could fill specific roles. This results in unsuitable CV’s being forwarded and wasted time in screening only to reject many of the candidates.
Typically the majority of the positions that are available as contract placements are for CRA’s, Project Managers, Data Entry Operators, Data Assistants and Managers. Should someone in such a role be looking for a new job, they tend to look in journals specific to their area of expertise and circulate their CV to all of the companies who advertise vacancies in the appointments section.
What the candidates do not always realise is that if they flood the market with their CV, whilst most agencies will ask first before submitting a CV for a particular vacancy, not all do and the same CV’s can often arrive from different sources. This not only looks bad for the candidate but also puts the Pharma company into an awkward situation as they may not know from where the individuals details were first received.
Specialist Resourcing Providers
Realising that there is a niche market falling between the offerings of CRO’s and general employment agencies, specialist providers are now offering total resourcing solutions to pharmaceutical companies. Staffed by individuals who have worked for both pharmaceutical companies and CRO’s in clinical roles they have a people focused attitude to understanding candidate and pharmaceutical companies resourcing needs.
Completely independent, such organisations have a candidate focus and aim to be an ally for the candidates throughout their careers. Individuals are realising that they can trust the career advice provided to them from Resourcing specialists based upon real life experiences and sound knowledge of the job market within the pharmaceutical industry.
This career progression and counselling focus coupled with the possibility to handle contract vacancies, permanent recruitment assignments and interim management projects, these companies offer full support to both candidates and pharmaceutical companies alike.
From the pharmaceutical companies perspective, they realise that when briefing these Resourcing specialists, a firm grasp of their requirements will be achieved quickly. There is also the reassurance that all candidates presented for interview will first have been screened by Resourcing specialists in order to ensure that only the best individuals will be put forward for their vacancy and that they will fit with their company culture and values.
A specific short term Resourcing need may not always require a full time contract hire as a means of resolving the situation. Highly qualified clinical research professionals who prefer to work on a flexible basis may be provided to trouble shoot on projects needing a boost from someone with a proven track record, or to cover for sickness absence or maternity leave. Typically, individuals who currently fill these vacancies are “freelancers” but with the introduction of the new IR35 tax laws in 2001, many companies have reviewed their employment of freelance staff and are now taking on such staff via a specialist Resourcing company.
So what are the lessons to learn from the changes that are occurring in the way that vacancies are managed?
From the candidate perspective :
Don’t flood the market with your CV - choose carefully which companies you submit your details to and always ask that you are consulted before your CV is send to a company for a specific position.
Utilise web based technology for speed of response
Never be afraid to ask for career advice
From the Pharmaceutical company perspective:
Find a company you feel you can trust who has the ability to appreciate the details of the position you are trying to fill
Utilise web based technology for speed of response
Consider aligning the recruitment process to fit with the competencies for the position by using a company who can screen for candidates who will have a strong fit to both the vacancy and the culture of the organisation
Would an Interim Management solution be the answer for a specific resourcing need ? Hiring a contract head on a minimum of a six-month contract could be more expensive
Don’t just think ‘recruitment’ or ‘contract’. Think ‘Resourcing’ for the task of project through a more flexible solution
The business of drug development is fast moving and requires highly skilled clinical research professionals to achieve the required outcome of getting a compound successfully through to Phase IV and the marketplace. Without the right people, the business will fail and considering the changes which have taken place within the industry in recent years, the answer for the future has to be Resourcing.
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