Contract CRA Hourly Rate

Both hiring managers and clinical research associates should be familiar with the market’s current contract CRA hourly rate. As a Hiring Manager, knowing the contract CRA hourly rate can help you quickly detect fraudulent candidates. It can also protect you from those CRAs who ‘poach’, thus protecting your budget. And as a CRA, having this knowledge can help you understand how to maintain your competitiveness. It will also help you look beyond the rate so that you can secure positions within compelling companies on exciting projects. 

Any way you slice it, to hire high-quality CRAs or get hired by great sponsors, you must be aware of the current market value of a Contract CRA.

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Hiring Managers: How to understand the Contract CRA Hourly Rate

As a hiring manager in the clinical research space, you are likely struggling with the trending hot (hot hot) hiring demand for the CRA role. You should be aware of the current market direction because if a CRA asks for too low of a rate, this may indicate fraudulence.  Alternatively, there are some CRAs who are asking well above the industry average.  We can guide you on what to expect when it comes to a typical contract CRA hourly rate range, thus protecting the integrity of your study as well as your budget.   When you understand current compensational market trends for CRAs you can:

Prevent Attrition

Every Sponsor and CRO must realize they are competing for top talent.  Offering an aggressive rate can go a long way in ensuring your CRAs will not leave for greener pastures. 

To be clear, expect attrition if you are underpaying your CRAs. Attrition rates for CRAs have been exceptionally high in the past few years, and while inadequate pay isn’t the only reason for high attrition rates, it is one of the largest driving forces behind the high turnover volume. It is certainly one of the easiest factors that you can control in mitigating negative attrition.

Detect Fraudulence

Several years ago we noticed a trend of CRA candidates asking for well below the market rate or salary.  As we explored deeper, we realized this trend was directly related to the candidate fraudulence we had started identifying in our industry. If a CRA is asking too little, dig deeper, as this is a clear sign of an amateur at best and a fraud at worst.

Alternatively, even if the candidate isn’t committing fraud, if they undervalue themselves so as to ask for a below-market rate or salary, they may be desperate. And my experience shows that desperate people make desperate decisions. You likely won’t be satisfied with their work, but even if their work isn’t subpar, they will leave you as soon as the next best offer comes around.

Protect Your Budget

There is a pool of CRAs who are known to overvalue their services when given the opportunity. Meaning, for these CRAs, it is common to ask for compensation far above the current market’s contract CRA hourly rate. In our experience, however, a higher rate doesn’t necessarily mean a better CRA. For cases like these, being aware of competitive compensation ranges will help you protect your budget and avoid overpaying. We have continually seen that if a CRA is genuinely passionate about the industry, other position perks besides just the rate means something to them.

How do you know if the individual is looking for a long term home or just haggling for money’s sake? Consider these qualities over a high asking price:

  • Has the CRA expressed a personal passion for the industry?
  • Does their resume represent long-term contracts or repeat clients?
  • Have you received positive feedback from previous contract references?

When engaging a new contract CRA, speaking with supervisors from previous assignments is another extremely valuable resource. Check in with past contract references to vet each new hire, ensuring that the CRA has not left a contract before it ended because this is a telling sign.  Meaning that while good CRAs do leave contracts early for multiple reasons, a large percentage of CRAs who end their contracts early do so because they found a better deal. 

How craresources Can Help

While finding, interviewing, and vetting potential CRAs can seem daunting, you don’t have to go it alone. craresources does all of the hard work for you, cutting down on your workload and helping to eliminate fraud by interviewing and recommending only those CRAs who have passed our stringent qualification process. We not only ensure that the CRAs who pass our rigorous process are as qualified as they claim to be, but we also provide options so that hiring managers don’t have to settle for less than the best. With the help of craresources, we ensure that you never have to settle for a CRA located in the wrong area, without the specific skills and qualifications you need, or whose personality doesn’t fit with the rest of your team.

CRAs and the Contract CRA Hourly Rate

As a CRA looking for well-paying opportunities that you can be passionate about, it’s important to know what contract CRA hourly rate you should be asking for. Knowing the current market rate enables you to compete with other CRAs while also helping you look beyond the price tag to make better long-term career decisions.

Understand the Market Rate

In the current market, the contract CRA hourly rate has skyrocketed. In addition, companies who were forced to put their projects on hold during the pandemic now have timelines to make up, and in the project management triangle (budget, time, and quality), budget is the only thing that many of these sponsors can sacrifice. Consequently, sponsors have become willing to pay more for CRAs, as the demand has increased drastically. Depending on the intensity and complexity of the study, we are seeing anywhere between a 10-25% increase to an already competitive rate.  

However, markets are constantly changing, and it won’t always be a candidate’s market. We feel the crazy demand of the current market is just a spike, and won’t last forever. To see beyond the spike and meet your career goals long-term, build strong relationships with companies and sponsors. Don’t chase the high rate. Be sure to meet your commitments by not bailing on contracts because you have received a better offer.  Instead, think about your career aspirations and stay in control.

Look Beyond the High Rate with craresources

To see beyond the spike of the current market, look beyond the high rate. But what should you look for in a sponsor besides money?

One of the best ways to provide for yourself long-term is to build a relationship with a firm like craresources that offers partnership along with repeat placements. We put in the time to get to know you, and we care about your fit, ensuring you are placed in an environment that will enable you to succeed and grow your skills. With a firm like craresources, you can rest assured we will always be available to provide support, as you being able to smoothly transition into your new assignments is one of our primary goals. 

We understand how important CRAs are to our industry and realize a good CRA assignment is more than just the hourly rate. It is also about the science, the culture and the work environment; so we make it a point to get to know our CRAs before recommending positions to them. This helps to keep you happily engaged, enabling both the CRA and the sponsor to be satisfied. That satisfaction is why we’re worth the effort. With craresources, you’ll get the best gigs with the best clients, all tailored to fit your needs and skillset.

Leave it to the Experts at craresources

Whether you’re a hiring manager or a CRA, knowing the current market’s contract CRA hourly rate can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your firm or career. However, the market is constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. But at craresources, it’s our job to understand these fluctuations so as to serve you better. 

If you have specific questions about market rates, reach out to the experts at craresources. Engaging us to answer the hard questions and do the legwork for you will benefit you every time. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can connect you with the most experienced CRAs and the best sponsor work environments time and time again.