After 18 years in the search business, I enjoyed my first trip to EuroPCR last week. EuroPCR is the Global Meeting of European Society of Cardiology and European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, basically the European version of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT).
Why would our firm invest in attending this show, you may ask? I would have asked this, too, if I hadn’t experienced firsthand the evolution in the medical device industry over my career.
When I started in the business, the United States was THE market. We were the largest market, we were the “holy grail”. If you were a medical device start up, you drove your approval and commercial strategy in the US. Clinicals were often run O-US, because it was easy and inexpensive in comparison, but the market to chase was, without question, the good Ol’ USA. Well friends, things have changed.
Whether it is the scrutiny of the FDA, the expense of clinical trials, the tighter reimbursement landscape, or all of the above, the medical device industry is evolving. The US is, dare I say it, a secondary consideration. The number of attendees at EuroPCR was 12,257 this year, where TCT 2013 boasts almost 12,000. Based on the numerous conversations we had, we found most of the exhibiting companies at EuroPCR were selling technology throughout the world, but NOT selling in the US. Many were not even considering the US due to the approval process, the costs, and the heavy hand of the current FDA. Although I believe our healthcare system remains best in class, innovation in medical devices is available outside the United States first. As an American girl raised with pure patriotism, the emotional side of me is disappointed with how the mighty have fallen.
However, observations at the show were not a surprise. They reinforced what we have witnessed in our firm firsthand. The searches we have filled over the years went from exclusively US based when I started, to now, 40% of our searches are O-US hires throughout the world. How can a US based firm find a candidate for a French medical device company who needs someone in Germany? I tell you.. the same way we find one anywhere else. We exhaust the local talent within the medical device candidate pool. We sell the “dream” for the client, to the candidate that aligns most perfectly. And by the way, we do so faster than the recruiter down the street in Stuttgart.
As a passionate recruiter in the medical device space, I am invigorated by the globalization of our world. Regardless of location of hire, candidates are in many ways the same. They seek career growth, personal challenge, financial gain, balance of personal and family, and make decisions based on the balance of all factors. Whether the placement happens in Minneapolis, the California Bay area, Boston, Zurich, or Brazil, moving the perfect candidate to the perfect opportunity will always be the driver for me. EuroPCR was a great reflection of the changing playing field, and I am excited about the prospects for our future.