Kim Marzano, Director of Talent Development
When making a career pivot, many people hit a wall almost immediately, stopped by a need for experience that seems impossible to get without being hired for the job requiring the experience. It’s a catch-22 that keeps talented individuals of all backgrounds from making an impact in areas important to them. This is unfortunately nowhere as true as in the clinical research industry, where the lack of a clearly defined training pathway means potential professionals often don’t even know that clinical research is a career option until they’ve already trained for a different job. Along with the Great Resignation and a number of other factors, this has led to a shortage of clinical research talent.
As clinical research demands continue to grow — rising 10% YOY in 2022 — the need for trained experts rises to match, with one-third of life science and pharma sector respondents ranking talent scarcity as a major pain point. This issue has only been amplified by the advent of Industry 4.0, a tech-fueled digital transformation poised to reshape workforce needs across industries through smart automation driven by real-time data. As this new industrial revolution makes its way into every business, demand for job functions with technical skills that overlap those found in the clinical research industry means the supply of available specialized talent continues to shrink.
The Right Time to Reskill
If you have an interest in science and improving global health but lack the specific qualifications, the ongoing need for clinical research professionals has introduced opportunities that can help you change careers. Reskilling programs supplement your existing skills and education with the coursework and hands-on experience necessary to enter the industry. When you’re ready to join a growing industry helping improve health at the cutting-edge of science and technology, reskilling for a career in the clinical research industry is the best way to follow your passion.
Optimal reskilling programs act as on-the-job training, ensuring you’re able to fill a need within their CRO or other research organization. This strategy often means you have a paid position as you gain new knowledge. In well-crafted programs, you’ll learn not just the technical skills needed for specific roles within the field, but also industry protocol, FDA requirements and the cultural norms of life science organizations. This organizational knowledge helps you overcome one of the most difficult elements of changing careers: learning the day-to-day ropes of a new industry. The best programs ensure you work in a supportive environment and have ongoing access to expert mentorship so you never feel lost.
What Do Training Programs Look For in Candidates?
When looking for candidates, reskilling programs often use criteria that combines your existing experience and soft skills. While program wants and musts will differ depending on the therapeutic area and the required role, these three elements are universally beneficial to organizations and are great to highlight when looking for the right training opportunity:
1) A natural curiosity for research: The industry rewards a thirst for knowledge, and no matter what your background, if you have a fascination with science and a yearning for discovery, it’s a good indication of the passion required to excel in the field.
2) Exposure to a regulated industry: With the endless requirements and regulations that keep clinical research safe and effective, it doesn’t hurt to have some idea of how to operate within rigid parameters. If you’ve worked in banking, been in the military or had a career in another heavily regulated industry, you may have a head start.
3) Project management or customer relations experience: As with regulations, transferable project management and communication skills provide a foundation of both function and thought that can prove invaluable to how quickly and effectively you learn the ropes.
Any combination of these three can help you start the path to a career in clinical research, but of them, the first may be the most important. Skills can be imparted. Interest is difficult to earn. Whether it’s a fascination with science or a very personal experience, people have individualized relationships with clinical research, many of which impart a deep dedication to its progress. Don’t be afraid to share what drives your interest when seeking entry to a training program because passion is important.
Make Your Mark on Global Health
In order to meet the clinical research demands of the future, the industry is looking for talent now, making it the perfect time to change career paths. If you have a love of science and the pursuit of discovery, consider how you could change the future of healthcare by switching industries. Clinical research provides hope for patients worldwide through important medical discoveries that improve both the length and quality of people’s lives. Don’t be discouraged by career prerequisites. Seek out a training program that helps you follow your passion within the clinical research industry.
Interested in joining the industry? For more information about how you can become a candidate for Advanced Clinical’s ACCEL (Advanced Clinical Careers Enhancing Lives) talent development program, please reach out at www.advancedclinical.com/contact.