Did you know that the European Medical Technology or ‘MedTech’ market is the second biggest in the world after the US and is valued in excess of €120bn?
From medical devices (MDs) products and solutions that treat, diagnose and care for patients, in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) used on biological samples to establish a person’s health to digital health and the tools and services that use information and communication technologies to improve health and lifestyle, MedTech covers many areas. Expertise in precision technologies and research is required across many different specialisms such as prosthetics, orthopaedic implants, disposable medical products, diagnostic imaging equipment, non-evasive surgical devices and intensive care equipment.
It is not surprising that MedTech is one of the most thriving sectors in Europe. According to figures from MedTech Europe, the European trade association that represents the medical technology industries, there are more than 500,000 medical devices in an industry that depends on innovation. To give an idea of just how quickly things move, given that product lifecycles are typically around 18-24 months, there were some 14,000 patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2019, the top three being related to digital communication, medical technology and computer technology.
The MedTech sector is also a big employer with over 730,000 people working in the sector. While Germany can boast the most workers, the highest number per capita accolade goes to Ireland and Switzerland. Even though the overall percentage contribution is 0.3% of total employment, these are jobs that generate considerable value, estimated at €160,000 per employee according to MedTech Europe.
Passion for people
Following Germany, which employs around a third of the industry’s workforce, come the UK, France, Italy and Switzerland, with all five countries combined accounting for around 75% of total employment. And of the 32,000 MedTech companies in Europe, a whopping 95% are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) typically employing 50 staff or less.
As well as strong technical skills, to succeed in the industry candidates must also demonstrate a desire to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. You must also be patient especially given stringent regulations and lengthy approvals processes. Whether you’re an IT or marketing specialist, accomplished soft skills such as communication are vital as you need to liaise with clinicians and patients in a sector where people’s lives are on the line. So you must also have a strong desire to help others and be passionate about improving the health of individuals.
The importance of the MedTech sector cannot be understated. Given the financial strains on national health services as a result of the pandemic, now more than ever will we rely on medical technology and innovation to develop electronic devices seamlessly and find new ways to treat people. This will take the strain off our already stretched healthcare systems, making them more cost efficient but critically improving patient outcomes.