LifeSciHub’s 3rd Annual Independent Workforce Survey Launched!

LifeSciHub News

LifeSciHub is thrilled to announce that as of June 15, 2021, data collection for our 3rd Annual study of the independent workforce in life sciences is open!

The purpose of the study is to provide data and clarity into the use and engagement of independent experts in life sciences.  This survey follows up key findings from 2020:

  • 70% of hiring managers feel that independent experts are critical to drug development
  • However independent experts are largely inaccessible via the traditional sources sponsor HR and procurement usually rely on- 65% of experts find work through word of mouth, less than 13% from third parties such as staffing or consulting firms.
  • Evidence that organizations suffer from overconfidence bias when planning future workforce needs

However in 2020 there was very little input from key stakeholders such as sponsor HR, vendor management, procurement and legal.  Without taking these views into consideration, the picture is incomplete.  This year we are hoping to get these critical functions into the conversation, without which organizational resilience via embrace of Open Talent will be even more challenging than it already is!

There are two forks in the survey.  One is for the independent workforce itself:  what was the motivation for becoming independent, how long in practice, status of incorporation, and preferred work arrangements are some of the questions directed at independent consultants.

The other fork is for the hiring entities.  We are hoping to get perspective from all five stakeholder personas:  the project owner who needs the expertise, HR, procurement, vendor management and legal.  Within a mid to large drug sponsor this is the kaleidoscope of decision makers decide where to direct the “spend” on temporary expertise.

Interestingly, each stakeholder represents a completely different sponsor interest:

  • The hiring manager wants to get the work done
  • HR wants to make sure workers are classified correctly
  • Procurement wants to drive the price down
  • Legal wants to ensure there is someone to sue if it all goes wrong

Vendor management is usually not in the mix, because although independent experts are fully incorporated and insured, if they are sole proprietors they are usually treated like human resources.  This is actually a question LifeSciHub would like to address:  if an incorporated business with professional liability insurance, multiple clients, and an auditable history of tax compliance is a business of just one person, is that a business or a human resource?  When does a business become a business?  When there are two employees?  Ten?  This is a very Future of Work question!

So many questions!  So exciting!

Lastly, we’ve added a Qualitative Research component this year.  From our preliminary testing we’ve found the survey questions are probing areas that generate a lot of energy among the respondents.  People have a lot to say, and a Quantitative effort such as this may not be well suited to capture all the information.  The survey asks for volunteers for a 45 minute Qualitative Research interview in Q3.  We are hoping to collect qualitative data from all personas:  the independent expert, hiring manager, HR, procurement, legal and vendor management.

Several fabulous independent experts contributed to the formation of this survey installment:  Sherry Fox, Kamila Novak, Haley Schwartz, Jeff Fielhauer (anyone else please let me know in the comments and I will add you here!).  Also some original progenitors:  Monique Garret, Betsy Fallen, Colleen Smith to name a few.

Thoughts, comments, recommendations welcome!

Looking forward to a fascinating data collection, analysis and report!