Impact of COVID on preferences of Market Access Professionals

Author: Victoria Wooldridge

Consulting is a people business. It’s not just enough to find exceptionally talented people to work with, you have to motivate, incentivise and retain a team. There is no way around it for quality outputs: happy teams deliver great work and enjoy working together.

With Market Access, it can be even harder to build a talented team. Having worked within the Market Access recruitment field for a number of years, I know we are working within a limited talent pool; it’s a relatively small group of people with niche skills that have been acquired through years of training and on the job learning. So, when you have a great team of people, regardless of whether they are permanent, contract or freelance, you want to motivate them to stick the course with you. At least, this is how Cath (FingerPost CEO/Founder) and I feel.

Established in 2015 by Catherine Bacon, FingerPost started life as a freelance venture; an independent business, that allowed Cath to undertake the work she loved and was experienced in, but also gave her the flexibility to work the hours that suited her personal life and gave choices as to which projects she delivered.  The idea of being a freelance consultant rapidly escalated into the realisation that Cath needed complimentary experience and extra resource to undertake the projects that were most attractive – largely at this time, projects from other agencies who didn’t have enough expert resource themselves, thus the notion of developing FingerPost into a platform that brought experienced freelancers together to fulfil these workstreams was born.  It was at this point that I left my role in Market Access recruitment to join Cath at FingerPost to drive this network build forward.

Rolling forward to 2019 and FingerPost’s Payer Research business was growing at a rapid rate and the only way to continue to scale and support demand was to find the right people across global markets that would help take us from a small, contract support option for other agencies into an agency model ourselves. We were keen to engage a highly motivated team to deliver exceptional quality and value to clients.

To achieve this, we recognised the need to support the interests of those working with us. We decided to carry out a survey to understand how we could better attract independent talent, build great working relationships and maintain a reliable external workforce. This survey also sparked the drive to ensure that longer term, FingerPost as a business fostered a great workplace culture for all who worked in our team whether permanent or temporary.  The survey results coupled with workforce contribution saw the creation of our company Values: Compassion & Respect, Quality of Life, Collaboration, Accountability and Integrity.  These values remain core to everyday operations and delivery at FingerPost.

Fast forward through the pandemic and to a conversation with Gareth Lee (of G&J Lee Recruitment where we got onto the topic of just how different the Market Access field was looking for employees and freelancers as well as our own businesses, since COVID.  We decided to reach out to the wider workforce once again to hear their views.

The 2023 survey was conducted across the summer months, mostly via promotion on LinkedIn and was opened up to anyone working within the field of Market Access, be that permanently employed, fixed term contracted or freelance, within Industry or consultancy and from anywhere in the world.

The survey was focused on the change in demand for increased flexibility by employees since the pandemic, and how employees were reacting to the pressure from employers to revert to pre-pandemic working ways.  The survey also touched on salaries across the market, workload/type and general attitudes towards Market Access opportunities within the field.

We attracted 97 respondents to the survey and the results did indeed give us some food for thought about how the dynamics of the Market Access workspace have changed in the last 4 years and conversely what predictably remained the same!  Our next blog, Market Access Professionals Workforce: Survey Key Findings, published on 11th July 2024, will share the thoughts of our colleagues in the sector.



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