Regulatory Salary Expectations: What’s Going on?

Companies across the US are all too familiar with current hiring challenges:  too many open roles and not enough qualified candidates. Fueled by “the Great Resignation” and a pandemic-era shift in priorities, along with a surge of new biotech companies and record IPOs, Regulatory Affairs job openings are at an all-time high. We are seeing this translate to an extremely competitive job market where companies looking to hire and build Regulatory teams need to have a compelling story, competitive compensation, and the flexibility to move quickly.

Based on industry feedback and the recent offers we have negotiated for candidates, we’re seeing some changes in the candidate landscape, especially at executive levels. Demand for higher salaries is increasing exponentially and candidates are advancing very quickly – leading to title inflation.  But what’s fueling this shift? And, are candidates still willing to relocate for great opportunities as they have in the past?

In order to better understand what candidates’ expectations are in this highly competitive market we conducted market research within some of the major biopharma/biotech hubs of the United States. We surveyed Regulatory Affairs professionals at the Executive Director, Vice President and Senior Vice President levels within California, New England, and the New York/NJ/Pennsylvania area. The survey consisted of two questions and here is what we found:

1.) What base salary range would you be looking for in your next Regulatory leadership career opportunity?


New England

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Regulatory Affairs executive salary expectations across the board are higher now than we have seen in the past, with the majority of candidates seeking salaries over $350,000 in all three regions that we surveyed.  Salary expectations were higher in California and New England than those in the NY/NJ/PA area.  In California, 44.44% of ED/VP respondents were seeking salaries over $375,000, while in New England it was 37.5%, and only 25% in the NY/NJ/PA area.

2.) Would you be willing to relocate for the right opportunity?

The majority of candidates would not want to relocate for a new Regulatory leadership role, with less than 30% of all candidates being open to relocation for the right opportunity.  This is not surprising based on the large number of senior roles in these markets, along with the availability of remote regulatory roles. Vice President level candidates in the Northeast say they are more willing to relocate than those in California; however, Senior Vice President level respondents in California are more willing to relocate than those in the Northeast.

Unexpectedly, a Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs in California has lower salary expectations and is more willing to relocate than an Executive Director/Vice President level candidate in the same market. But why is that?

According to our data, this discrepancy is a supply versus demand issue. There have been over 120 Vice President level Regulatory Affairs job openings within small to mid-sized biopharma companies across the country so far this year, with 42 of them still open. Currently, there are 11 VP level Regulatory openings in New England and about 7 in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In California alone, there are 16 open Vice President level positions. Over 15% of all Vice President level Regulatory Affairs positions were within the San Francisco Bay Area this year.  When compared with our open regulatory affairs positions market data, we are able to conclude that regions with more open Vice President level Regulatory positions are correlating to a more competitive hiring market and therefore – higher salary expectations.

Based on these surveys, we can see that senior level Regulatory executives now expect comparatively higher salaries in order to make a career move, and they are unlikely to want to relocate.  Companies must be more flexible with regard to remote work while also coming forward with higher salaries than they have in the past; especially in highly competitive markets like the SF Bay Area and Boston.

Hiring and retaining excellent Regulatory talent is crucial to the success of any biotech or pharmaceutical organization. Dennis Partners knows how to identify and attract world-class Regulatory professionals. We can match candidates beyond what you see on their resumes, diving deep into a candidates’ motivations and aspirations.  This approach focuses on the ideal fit and long-term success of both our clients and candidates.

As the leader in Regulatory Affairs recruiting, we are a partner in all aspects with the ability to share invaluable insight into the market. Whether you are seeking your next regulatory leadership position or looking to build a top-tier regulatory team, contact us today to see how we can help you meet your goals in 2022.

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