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Pharmaceutical Product Development Senior Clinical Research Associate Reviews

Updated 13 December 2017
16 reviews

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Senior Clinical Research Associate

3.7
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Pharmaceutical Product Development Chairman and CEO David Simmons
David Simmons
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good benefits, good work-life balance (in 68 reviews)

  • Ability to work from home in some cases (in 49 reviews)

Cons
  • Hard to have a work/life balance if you don't learn to say no (in 70 reviews)

  • no work-life balance for at least first 6 months (in 25 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good place to learn"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Blue Bell, PA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Blue Bell, PA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Line manager was very supportive, reasonable travel, good relationship with study managers, great on board training

    Cons

    Slow advancement, can feel isolating (I worked from home when not traveling)

    Advice to Management

    Provide more opportunities for advancement


  2. "Should I stay OR Should I Go??"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Detroit, MI (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Detroit, MI (US)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I love my line manager!! Many projects to pick and choose from.

    Cons

    Have been promoted once in over 5 years!! Hard to climb the ladder when they dont promote internally.

    Advice to Management

    Hire within!!! I hate training my CTM!!


  3. Helpful (7)

    ""A CRO is a CRO is a CRO - and this is one of the originals that cast the mold""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate II in Wilmington, NC (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate II in Wilmington, NC (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I'd say a good place to break in to the industry with no experience and possibly a good place to count out your days to retirement until your 401k is vested and/or if you need benefits.

    Cons

    Too many to list, literally. In slack times you will not have enough to do, even though you may offer, you will not be cross-trained or be able to help co-monitor with a colleague. In busy times you will be asked to do the impossible, told firmly to simply 'do it' in so many words if you ask any question more than once, and be shown the door - immediately if you press the issue, later once you are no longer needed if you are not a 'team player'. By team player I mean be used and learn to play the game. As a valued PPD employee, you will be called upon to lie. Lie to the sites and investigators. Lie to the sponsors about the status of their trial and the feasibility of their monitoring plan and project oversight. Lie to your own manager when it comes to protesting workloads or project milestones sold by the sales team in bids and contracts that we all know cannot be met. Say nothing now - a change order will be added later when the predictable and preventable crisis hits. PPD optimizes profitability that way and can be a 'white knight' riding to the rescue of whatever problem has been created. Turnover is high enough in our industry that often staff at the client will not really know what went wrong and how to fix things long-term. That's because here every emphasis is on the short-term. Stock expectations every 3 months, both for the client companies as well as PPD. As a CRA you will be told that YOU, however, can only be evaluated once a year (that's the SOP, if it's often ignored). If you want a career and expect bonuses or a 'merit adjustment' (when conditions warrant that your salary is so low compared to industry average that you get a significant raise to bring you up to around 'market value' of the other major CROs at least). Seriously, people working here as CRAs should either be here to use the company to get needed experience or because maybe they are fortunate to be on a good team with professional colleagues they have a good working relationship with that they value. Those people are relatively happy, either too inexperienced to know any better, or experienced enough to know they can't really do much better anywhere else at the end of their career. For the majority in between, there are byzantine SOPs, bureaucracy upon bureaucracy to provide the illusion the bean-counters need you to see. Most of the billable time and profits at PPD derive from the monitoring - that's you if you are a CRA. They bill you out at more that twice - ouch, even 3 times your pay because they tell the clients you are getting close supervision, training, and oversight. In reality, you are on your own, and will either sink or swim based upon your own acumen. Succeed, and it's because you had a great team around you. Fail and you must not have had what it takes. There is a third course. Be lied to by your recruiter and HR about what to expect, your site load, your protocols, get hired, maybe relocate - know exactly what you are getting into - and find out nothing is what you were told, you have no protections at all, and you are down to the whims and caprices of your manager. Get along, and this can work, maybe even be good. Don't mesh or don't learn how to play the game and be a resource your boss can take credit for, and you are done before you start. Just don't burn bridges. Be smart. Everyone within the industry knows what PPD is, so you will only hurt yourself by being idealistic and bleating it like a lost lamb to anyone that will listen. Only confide in colleagues, and find your next position through them. The only good CRA job is one another CRA can tell you about and help you secure. I do know some people that are happy here; they have pretty low expectations, are good at what they do, and like their co-workers and are comfortable. PPD grants their 'managers' so much latitude Trump and Gandhi may have adjoining cubicles. Who you work for is often determined by drawing lots. As long as Trump makes the trains run on time, he's your problem. If you want Gandhi, set that up before you take the job, insist on it (you'll be told this can't be done and has never been done), and stick to your guns. If you are a good CRA, PPD needs you - you most definitely do not need them.

    Advice to Management

    This is a naïve proposition. No Advice. The mistake most reviewers make is assuming that their employer either needs or wants it. These are graduates of some of the top business schools in the country and managers with decades of experience. They know exactly what they are doing and things are going well - money is being made. If you didn't realize that you are just a small, replaceable cog in the machine designed to wear out and be discarded - you should now. IF you have an exit interview - some don't - you'll find most of the questions are about you - not them - and they may even ask you how you plan to pay them money back for 'training' or 'relocation'. Sound like a company that needs or values feedback? (you don't have to pay back anything, btw, you'll never hear from them again, and it won't go on your credit, it's just a tax write-off scam.)


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Just Started"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Washington, DC (US)

    Pros

    The web-based onboarding/training process feels more interactive and beneficial that hours and hours of self-paced online readhing

    Cons

    I am sure all companies have their cons, but I am just starting, so i do not have any negatives to report just yet.


  6. "SCRA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Kiev (Ukraine)
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good working atmosphere, supporting management, competitive salary, advanced IT using

    Cons

    Communication between departments is not the best, no car/allowance


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Senior CRA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Detroit, MI (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Detroit, MI (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Easy work schedule, relaxed work environment, awesome manager, lot of free time even when working, great perdiem. Good work systems. IT is good.

    Cons

    Can get a bit too relaxed with my current work load. I don't really have a lot of negatives to say at this point. I hope they give good increase in salary and bonuses

    Advice to Management

    Utilize your gifted CRA's properly so they can be efficient and productive


  8. Helpful (2)

    "not recognizing the employee work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have worked for PPD for over 5 years as CRA. I used to like it but now everything changed. They were used to have a good training program. Systems and IT are good.

    Cons

    Upper management does not recognize people work, they limit promotions and they do not care about employees unhappiness. The workload is a lot and the mediocrity is getting higher and higher. there is a very high turnover rate within the company as people are underpaid, unhappy and overworked.

    Advice to Management

    change policy! look after the good employees instead of promoting the employees that do not deserve promotion!!!


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Clinical Research Associate I at PPD"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate I in Sofia (Bulgaria)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate I in Sofia (Bulgaria)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Highly motivated team with very competent people in the local and global teams. Very good salary and flexible hours.

    Cons

    Frequent overtime and high workloads. The fact the this is a global corporation means that urgent items are sometimes delayed due to the high number of people who need to be involved.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "Good Training, that's it."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Wilmington, NC (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate in Wilmington, NC (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pharmaceutical Product Development full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Employee Training is great. LMS system is easy to use and there are always new trainings to jump in on.

    Cons

    Employee Advancement Opportunities
    Salary increases and jumps with promotions are very low compared to industry: bottom 20%.
    Travel is not very regionalized, even if they tell you it is. East Coast is everything from Chicago down to Louisiana and east. No north/south dividers. Will send you to Midwest or West Coast on a permanent site assignment without blinking.
    Also, they're sending US employees overseas to train their replacements in Bulgaria and India. 2 months after training, the U.S. Employee receives a notice of job termination--we're an international company after all.

    Advice to Management

    It is obvious the company cares too much about the bottom line right now and not their employees. The private equity firm that owns PPD is looking for good numbers to be able to sell the company, and that's not doing any favors to the U.S. Employees.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "This is a great company to work for, they are very employee friendly and understand what work life balance means."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate II in Clearwater, FL (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Clinical Research Associate II in Clearwater, FL (US)
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The managers are very aware of the like of a traveling CRA and provide excellent support for the field CRA. The company tries to make sure that the CRA actually has a life beyond work. The have a bonus program for those who want to do more visits than the minimum per quarter. It is a really comfortable place to work.

    Cons

    I really can't think of any Cons. I often wish that I had never taken the offer from Quintiles.