Continual development and innovation in medical devices is crucial to ensuring quality of life in the UK and across the world. The term ‘medical devices’ is naturally an extremely broad one, encompassing such items as syringes, wheelchairs, pacemakers, X-ray machines, orthopaedic devices, coronary artery stents and many more.
Regardless, there can be little doubt about the medical device industry's great importance in safeguarding the wellbeing of our increasingly health-aware population.
It is thanks to medical devices that diseases can be detected earlier and diagnoses, treatment and patient monitoring relentlessly improved. Breakthroughs and refinements in medical device technology have also been crucial for reducing the costs of healthcare at a time when health services around the world – not least the NHS – seem to be under greater financial pressure than ever.
What is the state of the UK medical device industry today?
A quick glance at the key statistics relating to the UK’s present medical device industry should serve to further underline its importance. According to the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), the UK medical technology sector was made up of more than 2,000 companies as of 2009, with four-fifths of those being small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Emergo has said that the UK medical device market was valued at $9.9 billion in 2008, making it the third largest in Europe behind Germany and France. About 50,000 people are said to be employed in the sector, which is also trade positive in the UK, exporting more than it imports. It is a key part of a wider life sciences industry that has been hailed as one of the key contributors to the UK economy.
However, ABHI has also said that “action is needed if the UK is to continue to thrive in this area and patients are to realise the full benefits of medical technology”. Furthermore, it’s clear that with many of the most exciting and lucrative science jobs today being in medical devices, science recruitment agencies like Hyper Recruitment Solutions have a crucial role to play in helping to match the right talent to the right medical device industry vacancies and employers.
What you need to know if you are interested in a medical devices career
Although medical devices tend to be based on mechanical, electrical and/or materials engineering, which will place those with qualifications in any of these fields at a distinct advantage, prospective entrants to the sector are also expected to have a strong biological and biological sciences background.
The skill-set that you will require to succeed in the medical device sector will depend largely on the specific job in which you are interested. While, for example, a research and development role may place an emphasis on strong engineering skills, if you are to be tasked with the management of a team of people on a project, ‘softer’ skills like communication and team leadership will be crucial.
Meanwhile, ‘people skills’ and a willingness to travel are prerequisites for those working in the sales side of the sector, as is a high level of knowledge in – and enthusiasm for – the devices that they are to be responsible for selling.
When seeking your next big role in the medical devices industry – whether it will be your first or the latest of many – you shouldn’t hesitate to draw upon our considerable sector-specific expertise here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, including in such sub-areas as quality assurance, quality control, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, validation, clinical trials or any of a wide range of others.