SURVEY: As an MSL, on average, how many nights a month are you away from home? N=604

As an MSL, on average, how many nights a month are you away from home? N=604
#MSLsurvey #medicalscienceliaison #MSLtravel

This is a commonly asked question from aspiring MSL. They are often wondering if the amount of travel or nights away from home will suit their lifestyle. This is particularly true for professionals who are caring for young children and their partner is also working (in a high demanding job).

Here are the numbers, of how many nights a month on average an MSL is away from home:

  • Only 8%, out of 604 who voted, do not spend a single night away from home.
  • Half, or more exactly 52%, voted between 1 and 5 nights per month, which is the equivalent of up to 1 whole working week away from home per month.
  • 31% told us that they spend between 6 to 10 nights per month away
  • And 9% voted more than 10 nights away from home per month

As pointed out by some of you, there are a lot of variables that contribute to this disparity and that need to be considered when applying to an MSL role; such as:

  • Size of the MSL team, Number of MSLs for a given geographical area
  • The country, some countries are small enough to allow for day trips (e.g. The Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore, Ireland)
  • Size of geographical area covered, type of geographical covered: Major metropolitan city e.g. New-York versus rural, number and density of KOLs – the more KOL dense the less you will need to travel
  • The company MSL KOL meetings metrics (see our previous poll, it can vary from 0-80+ MSL-KOL meetings a month), policy around virtual interaction and in-person interaction, conference attendance, number of internal business meetings
  • The type and number of therapeutic areas covered and if you are working in specialty care vs primary care

Here are some of the comments:

  • I'm in Singapore, so... I get to go home every day!
  • I work in New York and I am only away from home when I attend a national conference.
  • Going from 100% virtual the last 2 years to full travel has definitely been a transition, even for those of us that were MSL before COVID! However, the desire for F2F is still there, as well as group presentations that are better suited for in person. It will be interesting to see if it stays this way as the year progresses!
  • Absolutely! Everyone has zoom burnout and with increased use of telehealth, having an in person interaction is very much welcomed. Not all interactions warrant F2F, for example answering a question submitted to medical information. That is often handled by a phone call. However, when meeting with actual KOLs, having F2F meetings results in substantially better conversations and more actionable insights.
  • Not everything can bey done virtually. Human, live, face-to-face is still needed and in many cases, wanted.
  • I cover 7 West Coast states and multiple therapeutic areas which makes for more travel (conferences, Ad boards, interactions, internal training). Could be very different for those with smaller territories or companies not launching new medications this year. It’s always best to ask a current MSL on the team to gauge how much travel is expected in the position.

We love to hear your insights and comments as an MSL or a MSL manager/director.


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