Salary surge

Pandemic drives up pay in fast-growth MedTech sector


Medical technology is in demand

One of the fastest-growing segments of the economy is now rewarding its top staff with some of the biggest leaps in salary, according to one agency.

Pay packages for senior positions in the medical diagnostics industry have risen significantly since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Some are now double what they were five years ago, says Ivor Campbell, chief executive of recruitment consultancy Snedden Campbell.

Board level executives with technical, scientific, or engineering qualifications now routinely command salaries around £150,000-a-year.

Experienced engineers involved in research and development and transfers to production are regularly employed on salaries of £120,000.

The sudden expansion of the UK medical technology industry, particularly in the field of infectious disease diagnostics, in the past 12 months has led to companies offering significantly higher wages to attract the best people, according to Mr Campbell.

He said Government investment in Covid-related research and the higher public profile enjoyed by the diagnostics industry has seen the launch of several new specialist firms as well as established companies expanding their activities and product ranges.

“The Government has thrown hundreds of millions of pounds at diagnostics in the UK and that has had various knock-on effects,” he said.

“What we are seeing is a confident sector, whether it has anything to do with Covid or not, hiring more people, looking at hiring people and increasing their product ranges.

“It has also made for a scarcity in the number of qualified and experienced people who really know what they are doing in designing, developing and manufacturing these things and, as a result, we are seeing demand for their services grow with far fewer quibbles about salaries.”

Mr Campbell, whose Stirlingshire based company recruits for the world’s biggest MedTech firms, said that until 2018, salaries had remained virtually static since the 2008 financial crash.

He said: “We are now at a stage where we are getting consistent, six-figure salaries with senior people in medical diagnostics businesses of all scales. They are catching up with those in equivalent positions in the pharmaceutical, finance and information technology industries in the south-east of England.

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She called for the Scottish Parliament to be given additional fiscal powers to help address the challenges facing Scotland’s economy.

“We are working on an engineering production management project for which, five or six years ago, salaries would have been around £60,000 to £70,000 – now they are £100,000 to £120,000.

“Clients who would have put the phone down 12 months ago are now nodding through inflated salaries because they accept that rates have gone up. Engineers earning £120,000 a year ago would have been unlikely – now it’s the cost of doing business.”

The UK diagnostic sector appears to be generally growing faster than other European countries, he said, with some exceptions in Spain and Scandinavia where he has seen a rise in activity since the start of the pandemic.

He added: “Since May last year, 80% of people we have placed have been with new companies which didn’t exist five years ago.

“Activity remains heavily focused on the MedTech clusters in Oxford, Cambridge, London, the North-East and North-West of England and Central Scotland.”

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