MedTech in Europe and the continuously high demand for high-level talent

Life Sciences consist of a variety of very interesting fields with another big variety of innovative companies and ideas in each of these fields. Just the MedTech sector alone has produced impressive numbers in the last years that stand for a significant level of growth, innovation and potential. And with that potential comes the demand for talent. But let’s look at the numbers first.

MedTech Europe regularly reports an interesting collection of data from the MedTech industry, which they published in their report „The European Medical Technology Industry – in figures“. They introduce their findings by stating, that „medical technology is characterised by a constant flow of innovations, which are the results of a high level of research and development within the industry, and of close co-operation with the users.“ (Page 11) This is only highlighted by the fact that „products typically have a lifecycle of only 18-24 months before an improved product becomes available.“

Lots of patents, lots of companies

Given that these lifecycles include a vast number of steps, processes and management it’s apparent how many people become involved. Given also that most of these processes involve patents that need to be applied for, filed and processed. Just to state another number from the report: „In 2015, more than 12,400 patent applications were filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) in the field of medical technology – 7.8% of the total number of applications –, still more than any other sector in Europe. 40% of these patent applications were filed from European countries (EU28, Norway and Switzerland) and 60% from other countries, with the majority of applications filed from the US (41%).“ (Page 11)

In about 26.000 medical technology companies in Europe (most of them based in Germany, followed by the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and France) there are more than 650,000 people employed. “This high level of employment shows that the medical technology industry is an important player in the European economy. In comparison, the European pharmaceutical industry employs more than 700,000 people.” (Page 15)

Consequences for Recruiting and Headhunting

These numbers and the developments they signify have quite immediate and interesting effects on the HR and Executive Search industry and the way they are capable of incorporating the latest developments and levels of innovation. Because not only is the growth and the incredible number of companies a big factor but also the fact that they are mainly (95%) small and medium-sized (the majority of which employ less than 50 people) makes a big difference when it comes to recruiting. The single hire becomes very crucial to a small team and also means hiring an asset for innovation and future competitiveness can decide a company’s chances for survival in the market.

MedTech is a market where the headhunter not only needs to understand his job but he also needs to know the industry. MedTech is also a market with a lot of potential targets, which is a good thing! Talent in MedTech doesn’t necessarily need to know the product but they need to know the industry and the processes.

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