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Employing Strategic Research Initiatives for Long-Term Impact

The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)

Professional Services



Total Membership

Professional Society

Organization Type

Washington, DC


McKinley has partnered with The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) on a long-term approach, developing and implementing strategic research initiatives that build upon each other and capitalize on the Society’s key strengths, translating to increased value for its members.


When McKinley initially partnered with RAPS, the organization was seeking to better understand the needs of its members. As part of their long-term vision for serving their audiences, they wanted to establish a baseline to inform future work.


We kicked off our partnership with quantitative research to understand the needs of RAPS membership. The goal was to determine the value of RAPS resources and explore opportunities to improve services in the future. This knowledge served as the foundation for all future opportunities and set a baseline to track growth resulting from future member initiatives.

Next, we implemented a project to identify the personas of RAPS members, which informed its new website development, including how RAPS customized and curated the content to meet its audience segments’ needs. We gathered more details on who RAPS members are so that the association could create an exceptional customer experience by leveraging its deep understanding of customers’ goals, motivations and needs. Building upon the data acquired previously, we created a new survey, segmenting responses by factors such as career stage and job function.

We were able to paint a portrait of the Society’s audience segments and where they each find value. Five personas were identified: Next Gen Climber, Rising Star, Focused Achiever, Career Connector, and Tenured on Top.

Concurrent with the personas research, RAPS identified an opportunity to access data that would allow the association to measure the regulatory affairs professional workforce globally. The goal was to gather a better understanding of the growth of the regulatory affairs profession by factors such as subfield and geographic location, and to identify market and career growth opportunities.


McKinley teamed with RAPS and Elemed, a boutique regulatory talent management company, on a workforce field measurement project, which resulted in the 2021 Report on The Global Regulatory Affairs Professionals Workforce. It employed a proprietary methodology that measured the global regulatory affairs field, which had never been done before.

The findings offer a glimpse into the perspective of the regulatory affairs community toward the myriad of changes that the profession has encountered over the past several years. It also provides a baseline of the size of the field, globally and by region, by which the industry can compare benchmarks in future years’ reports to assess growth and understand changes in trajectory. Important data points included issues facing the profession, such as the impact of the global health pandemic, concerns related to diversity and inclusion in the field, and top professional challenges for regulatory affairs professionals.

Looking ahead, this report, and future iterations, will help the Society lead the field. For members, it provides context including how challenges vary by region, and whether professionals in their area and discipline are facing the same kinds of barriers and opportunities. It also helps show whether their skill sets are in demand and how the field is growing—to understand where there will be more demand globally. For the Society, it provides a better understanding of present and potential future challenges, and how best to respond on behalf of its members and stakeholders.

McKinley has been a great long-term partner on our strategic research initiatives, which have collectively helped us increase value for our members and advance our vision for the future. We continue to be impressed with the efficiency and expertise with which McKinley has helped us accomplish all of this critical work—and look forward to more collaboration and success together!

Amy Fisher

VP, Engagement, Marketing and Market Development, The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society

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