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Swiss Medtech sector overview with Anne-Sophie Nicolai

Swiss Medtech sector overview with Anne-Sophie Nicolai

In our latest market overview, we spoke to our Associate Director for Life Sciences, Anne-Sophie Nicolai, who is based in our Geneva office in Switzerland to learn more about Medtech jobs in Switzerland.

So crucial to the Swiss economy, what is so unique about the Swiss Medtech hub? “Medtech and more broadly the healthcare sector has a special place here, with many large pharma Medtech, diagnostics and biotech companies as well as dynamic local start-ups and scale-ups who have made their home in Switzerland,” says Anne-Sophie. “Innovation is very important and Switzerland was crowned the 2021 most innovative country in the world. There is a huge amount of investment in both innovation and R&D, and also there are high quality of universities, for example the EPFL [Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne]. It’s a very attractive destination for Medtech!”

Such a specialist field clearly requires specialist technical skills. “The digital area is really growing, as healthcare companies have had to accelerate their digital investment and capability during the pandemic. As an industry, it had to transform and so companies have needed to recruit more digital experts. Companies have modified their devices, including remote programming and monitoring, think of digital health and telemedicine – this is why digital expertise is so vital.”

It’s not just about incorporating new tech across product portfolios. Given the complexities surrounding regulations, companies are also looking for regulatory affairs experts. “Individuals who know Medtech regulations inside out are highly sought after at the moment and companies are struggling to find people with these skills and background. The continuous product innovation to improve manufacturing processes in IVD [in-vitro diagnostics] and robotics has also fuelled a demand for those with specialist knowledge.”

We should never forget interpersonal skills. As Anne-Sophie point out, “In terms of soft skills, as companies have undergone significant transformation, so too are they looking for candidates who are really agile and flexible – individuals with the ability to lead and drive change. Leaders must demonstrate their change management experience, their ability to adapt while also know-how in developing their teams.”

Hard to source Medtech skills

While there is plenty of specialist expertise in the Swiss market, the war for talent is very much on. “Although we have highly qualified experts with the best education from top class universities, we’re still battling shortages as Switzerland is a small country after all so there is a real need to look outside our borders and bring in people externally. Recent tax changes, the result of Switzerland now having non-EU or third country status, are hindering the export activity of local healthcare companies with their manufacturing sites in Switzerland – discussions are ongoing but it’s a problem.”

And what advice would she offer companies looking to secure the best talent? “Candidates are looking to work on exciting and challenging projects, they want to move but companies need to provide them with the right environment so that they can grow their responsibilities and develop. They want to have input and visibility on projects, while also being able to work flexibly, so they can achieve a better work-life balance. In today’s world, that has become an absolute must.”

For candidates looking to shine at interview, Anne-Sophie says that there are three areas that will make a difference. “They must be motivated to move and join a new company as well highlighting their strengths, quantifying achievements and demonstrating their ability to add value. When you have that combination of experience, track record and motivation for the role, you will win points towards landing that job.”

Despite the challenges, the outlook for 2022 remains bright for the Swiss medtech industry. “The healthcare market is dynamic, there has been a restart as companies are once again looking for talent. Medtech is a huge market in Switzerland and in terms of key trends, new fields like e-health, telemedicine, AI, surgical robots and virtual reality in healthcare application will continue to dominate and make the headlines in 2022. The demand for new technology won’t stop and with it the need for tech and innovation skills.”

Swiss Medtech – fast facts

  • Employs c. 63,000 people; 4,500 new jobs were created 2018-20
  • 1,400 companies generating CHF 17.9bn, equating to 2.6% of GDP
  • Switzerland has the highest number of medtech workers per capita
    (source: Swiss Medical Technology Association)

Contact us!

Anne-Sophie has been working in recruitment within the healthcare and pharma sector for over 15 years, sourcing leaders with national/European regional remits for global Medtech companies based in Switzerland. If you’re looking to appoint your next senior medtech hire, email annesophie.nicolai@morganphilips.com or call +41 (0) 78 875 27 76.

Find out more about our medtech recruitment solutions and listen to Anne-Sophie talk about the Medtech sector in Switzerland:

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