U.S. House of Representatives in June and currently is pending
in the Senate.
Medical device labor levels surged 38 percent to record highs
in the first quarter, fueled partly by a 62 percent increase in overall
life sciences R&D positions and 23 percent gain in outsourcing/
services jobs, reports ZRG Partners LLC, a Boston, Mass.-based
life-science-focused executive search and consulting firm. And
though hiring crash-landed in Q2—overall medical device employment fell 11 percent and life sciences R&D jobs plummeted
nearly 50 percent—the device sector retained a solid 9 percent
lead over the same period last year, ZRG data show.
Company executives attributed the spike in first-quarter
medtech employment to the blockbuster Medtronic-Covidien
merger, noting the $50 billion corporate marriage offset staff
reductions at Becton Dickinson and Company and Siemens
Healthcare, the latter of which cut 7,400 jobs to save $1.14 billion.
Indeed, acquisitions considerably boosted life-science employment levels in the past 12 months: Smith & Nephew added
1,800 workers to its payroll (boosting staff 22 percent) by purchasing sports medicine specialist ArthroCare Corp., and Abbott Laboratories bolstered its workforce 12 percent ( 8,000 jobs)
through mergers with Santiago, Chile-based CFR Pharmaceuticals SA, Russian drugmaker Veropharm, and venture-backed
electrophysiology technology developer Topera Inc.
Boston Scientific Corp. multiplied its manpower through mergers
and acquisitions as well, admitting 1,000 new workers into its empire
(a third of which came from the acquisition of Bayer AG’s interventional business. The influx of fresh talent restored most of the jobs lost
over the last several years to cost-cutting and profit-boosting efforts.
Other contributors to the 2014-15 medtech/life-sciences hiring boon included Baxter International ( 5,000 new workers); B.
Braun ( 4,128 additional employees); Essilor International (2,903
extra staff); Steris Corp. (1,600 supplemental laborers); and
Stryker Corp. (1,000 ancillary job-holders), a report from London,
United Kingdom-based Evaluate Ltd. concluded.
The life-science market intelligence/analysis firm ranks
Medtronic as the world’s largest medtech employer, having gained
an additional 43,000 employees from the Covidien merger. While
that increase far exceeds the combined total number of jobs added
by all other top 10 employers in the past year, it nevertheless takes
a back seat to Exact Sciences Corp., which had a higher percentage
accrual. The Madison, Wis.-based molecular diagnostics company
boosted its staff 131 percent in 2014, hiring 134 full-time workers
to prepare for launch of its Cologuard colorectal cancer stool test,
approved last summer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). Medtronic, by comparison, supplemented its staff by 88
percent, according to Evaluate data.
The surge in Exact Sciences’ staff last year is not surprising,
considering the growth the firm has experienced since fending
off low-ball takeover bids and running low on cash in 2009. Over
the last five years, the company has increased its workforce more
than 12 fold.
“New technology platforms and exciting scientific develop-
ments continue to fuel demand for top talent,” ZRG Managing
Director David Fortier said in releasing second-quarter hiring
data, “particularly for those experienced progressing clinical can-
didates through development and the regulatory approval pro-
cess. The warming of EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] is
also a positive sign for the industry.”
There have been lots of positive signs of late: falling oil prices,
lower U.S. unemployment rates (slipping from 6. 6 percent in
January 2014 to 5.1 percent in September), emerging market eco-
nomic growth, and improved profit margins.
Such sanguinity might help explain the boost in job security
and satisfaction among medtech professionals polled by Medical
Product Outsourcing. More than three-quarters, or 82.1 percent, of
the respondents to the magazine’s latest salary survey reported
feeling secure in their present jobs. And half ( 50 percent) pledged
loyalty to their current employers, up 10 percent from the 2014
results. Only 21. 4 percent vowed to leave their jobs, down 6. 5
percent from the previous year.
Potential contributors to workers’ discontent include market
volatility, new business generation, insufficient (employee) skill
levels and incompetent management, according to the survey.
Particularly frustrating to those in the field are internal politics
(cited by 25 percent of respondents); the regulatory process ( 19. 6
percent); inadequate project funding ( 17. 8 percent); poor pay
( 10. 7 percent) and shareholder expectations ( 5. 4 percent).
5+71529 n Under $15,000 5% n $15,000 to $25,000 0% n $25,001 to $50,000 7% n $50,001 to $75,000 14% n $75,001 to $100,000 21% n $100,001 to $150,000 27% n $150,001 to $200,000 16%
n Over $200,000 9%
What is your current
annual base salary?
Has your job been threatened in
any way by overseas competition?
n Yes 21%
n No 79%