Medical technology (or MedTech) or the medical device industry is a sub-sector of the life sciences sector, which in the UK is one of the strongest and most productive in the world, turning over in excess of £88.9 billion per year.
The medical technology global market is fast developing, making up 52% of industry employment in the life science sector, according to the Bioscience and Health Technology Sector Statistics 2020.
According to SRG Talent, "Medical devices are essential for the safe and effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of illness and disease."
They range from syringes and scalpels to pulse oximeters and pacemakers.
Explore the sector
MedTech Europe explains the value of medical technology, stating that it 'can save lives, improve health and contribute to sustainable healthcare'.
The UK's world-leading medical technology industry has expanded rapidly over the last five years and continues to do so. As well as medical devices, the sector represents a broad range of technologies, including medical and assistive technologies, imaging platforms, telehealth and diagnostics.
With a growing emphasis on the involvement of digital technologies and a consumer demand for wearable medical devices, it is an exciting time to become involved in this innovative industry.
This rapid growth is due to a number of factors:
- Large companies are starting to outsource their R&D to smaller Medtech businesses that produce medical devices
- Tech giants, such as Google, are increasingly collaborating with medtech companies which is leading to the creation of new jobs in the sector
- The rise of Big Data and Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)
Find out more about the future of smart medical devices on the SRG Talent website or the MTS website.
What employers operate in this sector and what job roles are on offer?
Medtech employers include large employers such as Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, GE Healthcare as well as SMEs which manufacture medical device products.
As an example, GE Healthcare provides a range of careers through a range of products, solutions and services from imaging, clinical care solutions, digital and pharmaceutical diagnostics.
You can find out more about the range of medtech companies on the UK Biotech, crunchbase databases or the Medical Technology UK website
The majority of small companies recruit primarily into research and development (R&D) roles, collaborating with larger organisations to access their infrastructure when taking their products to market, for example, marketing, regulatory affairs, and so on. However, as investment increases and companies grow, there are likely to be more support roles available, such as administrative and procurement. Take a look at the job profile for a Clinical Technologist on the Prospects website.
Because the sector is so broad, jobs are spread out across different sub-sectors including:
- quality assurance (QA)
- quality control (QC)
- field engineering
- research and development (R & D) design
R&D roles will almost always require a postgraduate qualification, usually a PhD. Subject examples include:
- Intelligent and Motivational Assistive Technologies
- Wheelchair Technology Solutions for Sports Performance
- Novel Particle Coating Technology for Paediatric Formulation Development
The more operations-focused roles, for example, regulatory affairs and medical information often recruit at degree level.
Degree subjects required will depend on the role, but engineering and physical sciences will be valuable, as will degrees within the life sciences spectrum.
If you are interested in further study, the Scientific Training Programme (STP) offers a three-year programme of work-based learning, supported by a university accredited master’s degree. The STP offers many different specialities, including some in the field of Medical Technology. Go to the National School of Healthcare Science (NHS) website to find out more.
Search the Prospects postgraduate courses database to find a list of the various masters courses and PhDs currently available.
How do I find a job in medical technology?
What experience will I need?
Employers will look for experience that has given you relevant technical and personal skills, which you may have gained through your degree, industrial placements, internships or extracurricular activities.
Medical technology is an industry heavily dependent on obtaining funding to support its research, so commercial or industrial awareness is key to making a great application. Visit our webpage to find out more about commercial awareness and give you the edge over other applicants.
Industrial placement and internships are very beneficial, but if you don't yet have that directly relevant experience, keeping up to date with industry developments through news items on key websites, or perhaps following a particular organisation's social media feeds can all help to build your commercial awareness.
Working in retail or fundraising for charities, etc, can also be useful in helping you to understand how important the financial aspects of a business are.
Large pharmaceutical companies often advise those who are aiming for R&D roles to contact them towards the end of their undergraduate degree and maintain links throughout their further studies so they can stay informed about what employers are looking for.
What skills will I need?
Skill requirements will vary with each role, but broadly speaking, employers on the scientific side of the industry will be looking for:
- an interest in science and technology and an ability to update and test your knowledge against experience
- good communication skills to be able to liaise effectively within multidisciplinary teams
- experience of using modern technology and complex equipment
- meticulous attention to detail to produce highly accurate work even when under pressure
What does the recruitment process involve?
Some of the larger, global organisations run formal graduate recruitment programmes, but those with a smaller UK presence tend to advertise vacancies as they arise.
As so many of the employers are small companies, their recruitment processes are often less formal. Networking can play an important role in your job search.
Joining relevant online networks such as LinkedIn could be an excellent way to identify potential employers, participate in discussions, make useful contacts and find out about upcoming events. Visit our pages on how to network effectively for more information.
If you can identify a small number of companies working in fields that particularly interest you, make contact to find out more about them and consider sending in a speculative application.
Commercial research organisations often use recruitment agencies.
Where do I look for job vacancies?
Vacancies from companies targeting Nottingham students and graduates
Recruitment websites dedicated to medtech vacancies are difficult to find, as many of the roles will be in small companies that are often responsive to speculative applications. However, there are a number of broader sites focusing on the pharmaceuticals and/or biotech that might prove useful.
Cogent - Career and Training Pathways
For academic or industrial roles, including PhDs, use Jobs.ac.uk and search for 'medical device' or 'medical technology'.
Where do I look for work experience?
Internship programmes are offered by many of the larger employers, but a speculative approach will be more effective with smaller companies.
Networking is key as this will allow you to find out more about the industry and make contacts that could help you to secure work experience.
Visit our networking page
Take a look at our Work Experience webpage for more ideas, opportunities and to find out what’s on at the University of Nottingham.
Visit our work experience page
There are a number of places where you might start your search for internships and placements, including:
How do I get involved at Nottingham to enhance my job prospects?