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Medtech boom in the Benelux puts engineers in the spotlight

By Guy Hunter, Consultant, Benelux

May 2021

Medtech boom in the Benelux puts engineers in the spotlight

With the recent relocation of the European Medicine Agency from London to Amsterdam, the potential for a boom in life sciences activity in Benelux is taking shape. Many companies are making the same decision to move from the UK into the region post-Brexit, creating an influx of job opportunities.

This is particularly true in the medtech and medical devices space, where we have seen a flurry of activity in the job markets over the past year. Today, many Benelux-based start-ups are getting ready to bring products to market or move into mass production, having put things on hold through the pandemic, and larger organisations are also continuing to grow and recruit.

Medical device companies globally proved really resilient last year, with the top 20 global players keeping revenues flat and slightly increasing their levels of employment. Covid increased the need for, and adoption of, remote diagnosis and monitoring, and that’s a trend that shows no signs of reversing. Going forward, it is now apparent that the next generation of devices will be developed to favour at-home treatment and fewer in-person visits, so companies are focused on that innovation.

That, in turn, creates a growing demand for skilled professionals in the medical devices space, with the Benelux region at the forefront of that in Europe. At the moment, we see quality engineers and regulatory affairs engineers in short supply, potentially because so many start-ups are looking to expand and take advantage of the growing demand for remote diagnostics.

The Netherlands has historically been a reasonably candidate-rich economy without particular talent challenges, while Belgium has been more difficult, in part because of the split between French and Dutch-speaking clients.

 

The Netherlands has historically been a reasonably candidate-rich economy without particular talent challenges, while Belgium has been more difficult, in part because of the split between French and Dutch-speaking clients. In both countries, organisations wedded to the need to recruit Dutch speakers are increasingly having to relax their criteria as the market becomes more global and fluid.

Anyone tempted by a move into contracting in this region should know that now is a great time to make the move. We speak to a lot of people who have been in permanent positions for some time and are perhaps not achieving the progression they were looking for, and increasingly they view contracting as a means to accelerate that, allowing them to quickly bolster their experience across a variety of projects, while receiving a salary boost. There is a real disparity between permanent-position wages and those available to contractors in this market, with many not aware of just how much more money they can make by shifting into contracting.

For companies, one differentiator when it comes to attracting talent is going to be remote working, which is not only increasingly popular with candidates but also opens up the talent pool to a much wider radius. Clients that won’t entertain offering flexibility to candidates and the possibility of working from home will find it even more challenging to hire now that quality and regulatory affairs engineers have proved their abilities to deliver off-site.

The Benelux region is tipped for big things in the medtech arena over the next five years. As the pandemic subsides, if companies can ease their language requirements and incorporate more flexibility, they could easily start attracting the best talent from nearby countries and boost their growth potential even more.