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How to improve hiring outcomes for Regulatory Affairs in MedTech

Updated: Feb 22, 2023


Hiring experienced Regulatory Affairs professionals has always been challenging in the MedTech sector, but now it’s more complex than ever, especially if you are looking for specific niche skills.

So what is the market telling us? Where is the most significant demand, and what should you expect if hiring in this market?

Why are you getting fewer job applications than before?

Regulatory Affairs professionals in MedTech are receiving details of job opportunities every day. Most job seekers are already in full-time employment, so it’s common for them to focus on a select few applications at a time. With lots of choices, they are being selective. In many cases, you are missing out because your job opportunity isn’t getting to the right person or the information they receive doesn’t tell the whole story.


Job specifications in Regulatory Affairs can often look the same. For example, standard requirements will include the following:

  • MDD to MDR or IVD or IVDR transition,

  • product registrations in multiple locations,

  • maintenance or writing of technical files, and

  • liaison with notified bodies.

In-demand job seekers and passive candidates will want to be better informed before they apply. Therefore, they will do their research and want to know about the job role, company history, culture, structure and direction of the organisation, and career enhancement opportunities.


But many organisations in MedTech have public websites and profiles that showcase their product but lack in portraying their employee brand.

So it’s worth questioning whether your public profile is geared towards employee attraction or is your representative of job seekers portraying your best parts to the right people.

In addition, most professionals want to know the salary and benefits before applying, and some won’t apply without wage information included. In this case, it’s worth doing some homework on salary and benefits within your perspective talent pool before you go out to market.

Early on, senior professionals want to know about the potential for share options and the company’s financial investment, security or even plans to sell. In addition, they will be eager to research the senior management team for inspiration. Therefore, delivering the correct information to the right people is key to higher levels of engagement and, additionally, more applicant choice.


Remote working in regulatory


Until recently, most permanent regulatory affairs positions were entirely office based. Fast forward to the present day, and fully remote working is no longer a rarity. Instead, the hybrid model has become the norm, and you’ll probably be in the minority if you hire for fully office-based work.


If you have an office-based working policy, you need to understand the talent in your local geography to compete. What if the person you are looking for doesn’t exist within range? How would you know? Has anyone conducted a thorough search and provided you with talent pool data and market feedback?


Details such as target companies within your geography and the feedback from your target talent pool regarding your perception of you as an employer and competitive benefits would help to inform smarter recruitment decisions.


Specialist skills are in the highest demand.

There is a more significant population of professionals with administrative backgrounds who can handle lower-risk Class I and II registrations as part of a wider team. However, when it comes to professionals with a solid engineering background and a grounding in product development who can manage more complex submissions (Class IIb/III), this is where the candidate pools are a lot smaller.


Organisations launching digital health/wearable/platform-based medical technologies or marketing active (electronic, mechanical, software-driven) medical devices may need to hire a professional with a strong engineering background. In addition, grounding within electronics or software development is sought after, as is experience in developing products to standards such as IEC 60601 and IEC 62304.


Certain positions may even be looking for additional skills in usability engineering (62366) and a high level of risk management (14971) experience.

These skills are not always listed on CVs or LinkedIn profiles, so a recruiter will benefit from thorough talent mapping and market knowledge of organisations developing similar products to find suitable targets.

Medical Device and IVD organisations favour entering the EU (CE Mark) or US markets, and there is currently a significant uptick in demand for experience managing FDA/510(k) submissions. Some companies who cannot find this experience will need to employ the additional resource of a contractor or consultancy, which can be expensive compared to securing a permanent resource.


Massive investment in HealthTech, Digital Health, Software platforms and AI means an enormous demand for experience in SaMD (Software as a Medical Device). This SaMD experience is one of the most sought-after skills in regulatory, with the most significant skills gap.


If you need to know that you are hiring the best possible person in the market with the slightest compromise, you will need a proactive, committed search by someone to target and how best to engage.


Salaries are increasing


The cost of living is getting ridiculous, and demand is high, so salaries are increasing. You’ll be paying more than you did a year ago. The most prestigious companies in the world, including Microsoft in Seattle, are combating talent retention and acquisition by reviewing and increasing salaries and benefits in a pre-emptive strike. For staff retention, it’s better to review and adjust now than to counter at the point of notice.


For hiring, we recommend open dialogue around salary and expectations early in the application process. It’s not always about money, but this will undoubtedly be a factor. Understanding an applicant’s motivations beyond salary will also help you to secure the right person.


Counter offers


It would help if you prepared a counteroffer for your offered applicant. We see that around 90% of regulatory professionals are now discussing what might make them stay when they hand in their notice, and finances usually drive the conversation. A good recruiter can help steer your offer home, but only if the person has the right motivations beyond money.

When a professional is only looking due to a need to earn more, we coach them on how best to put forward this request before they start their job search.


Careful applicant management, in this example, is a value add that a good recruiter can handle with care. Last-minute dropouts will be rare if this conversation starts early in the application process and builds trust.


Recommendations.


IVD, Medical Devices, and Digital Health organisations don’t benefit from a concentrated hub in the UK. There are spin-outs and a greater concentration of companies around Oxford, Cambridge, London and the North West, but many organisations are spread across the UK. In a short skills market, this issue transpires to a lack of candidate choice, especially for active job seekers or applicants. So what is the answer to this? Well, if a company has been looking for a few months or more (as in many cases)?


If your vacancy is a niche, critical, urgent or challenging, but your organisation is looking for high-calibre professionals, we recommend a thorough search, talent mapping and analysis and careful promotion of your best parts to the right people.


Candidate target and competitor data can help steer a hiring manager to what is available to them in the market, and analysis of their organisation’s brand perception and engagement can inform recommendations and help to make adjustments. Commitment from your recruiter on this project will unearth the best possible person available to you in the market for your current hire but will also help guide you on how best to position your brand for improved engagement for future hires.


Happy to share our insights further. Please get in touch to arrange a call.

josh@indoprofessionals.co.uk.

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