Effectively managing contractor spend

Managing the talent acquisition (TA) surges that are an inevitable result of the clinical research process can be a key challenge for biopharmaceutical companies. Specifically, when the business grows further as a result of commercialization, they need to scale at pace. As a result a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has been working in partnership with Skills Alliance since April 2023 for the management of their contractor labour.

The Challenge

The organisation’s TA team found that they needed additional flexibility and agility to bring in contractors as quickly as the business required to achieve crucial milestones. This was also coupled with poor visibility and control on spend for their contractor workforce with no streamlined terms, and the company was signed to numerous individual agency agreements. As a business that prides itself on adhering to industry regulations, compliance would then becoming an issue due to the varying geographies that they operated in.


Working in partnership with the business, Skills Alliance provided a Managed Servicer Provider (MSP) solution to manage their contractor workforce. This is a flexible workforce model that allows for easy scalability and visibility that allowed the following:

  • Standardised processes in the selection and vetting process to ensure consistent talent quality.
  • Introduced a vendor management system (VMS) that provided real time analytics into workforce data including headcount, spend and vendor performance. This addressed the company’s concern on visibility.
  • Optimised hiring and onboarding processes creating efficiencies bringing their average time to hire down.
  • Brought in expertise for local labour regulations and best practices for the countries they operated to ensure they were adhering to 1099 contractors in the US through to IR35 in the UK.


After only 6 months the following results were observed:

  • Average time to hire brought down by 53% to 27 days.
  • Renegotiated contracts with second tier agency suppliers with cost savings of $1.1 million after 6 months and identified further cost saving potential of $370K.
  • Centralised systems for tracking and reporting on headcount numbers and spend, where reporting can be customised to suit all business departments from HR to finance.
  • Provided an audit log whilst automating approval and extension tasks that were otherwise done via email.
  • Established a feedback loop to continually refine and improve processes based on experience.

Head of Procurement, commented, “Working in partnership with Skills Alliance has not only brought us rapid, wider access to the specialist talent the organisation requires but has enabled us to streamline our processes to ensure we remain compliant and with  complete visibility on our contractor spend, and in turn simplified the interface for contractors, managers and finance functions

The business needs are developing within biopharmaceuticals which requires our contractor workforce to flex and scale at a moment’s notice. Skills Alliance are helping us in the pursuit of our business goals.”




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