From The Editor | March 29, 2018

What Is The Best Medical Device Job For You?


By Bob Marshall, Chief Editor, Med Device Online


A recent article – LinkedIn Top Companies 2018: Where the U.S. wants to work now, by LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth — provided a thought-provoking, intriguing list of 50 companies popular on LinkedIn. The methodology used to compile the list of companies was designed to measure interest in the company itself, its jobs and people, and the company’s ability to retain its employees. Some of the specific metrics included:

  • Job demand — The rate at which people are viewing and applying to job postings, including paid listings, unpaid ones, and those linked from other sites. All job views and applications are normalized for the total number of job postings.
  • Engagement with the company — The number of professionals viewing a company’s career page, as well as the number of new followers the company has attracted
  • Interest in its employees — The number of non-employees viewing and asking to connect with a company’s employees
  • Retention — The number of new employees staying with the company for at least one year

Three medical device companies made the list. Kalamazoo-based Stryker was the top medtech company, ranking #30. Brunswick, N.J. giant Johnson & Johnson was the second most popular medtech, at #45, and Chicago-based Abbott came in at #50.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Stryker’s more than 33,000 employees benefit from a focus on wellness at work. Per the article, “Stryker opened an all-new office in Flower Mound, Texas, last year that’s designed with employees’ health in mind. The 89,000-square-foot space features activity-based workspaces (like standing desks), circadian lighting that adjusts based on time of day, a basketball court and healthier food options.”

But the old adage, “well, at least you’re got your health,” isn’t enough to make this list. A company also must perform well financially to be interesting and to attract talent. Roth wrote, “Stryker has been posting impressive growth across products as diverse as knee replacements, surgical tools and spinal implants. The company also credits its success to its innovative medical technology, like the Mako robotic arm that’s designed to assist with knee surgeries.”

Taking Care Of Man’s (And Woman’s) Best Friend

Johnson & Johnson is the largest medtech company on the list, with global headcount of over 125,000. J&J has a strong medical device presence focused in several areas, including ophthalmology, orthopedics, electrophysiology, and wound care. But, J&J also has a diversified business model including consumer health and beauty products, along with a strong pharmaceutical business, which includes drugs for blood clots, psoriasis, and cancer.

Diversification seems to be a common theme at J&J, and it crosses over to their benefits. Roth explains, “J&J’s suite of benefits include a host of offerings that make family life a bit easier for employees. Perks include $20,000 in financial assistance for adoption or surrogacy, 17 weeks of paid parental leave and breastmilk shipping for mothers who travel for work. Pet parents can take advantage of pet insurance for their fur babies.”

Cardiac Care With A Big Heart

The third and final company on the list is Abbott, with 99,000 employees. The company has a broad portfolio, which includes a cardiac device that allows physicians to track heart data remotely, and a continuous blood sugar monitor that could drastically reduce the number of finger-sticks diabetics need.

Abbott also has demonstrated a huge heart in supporting its employees during difficult times. Roth provided a detailed account: “When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Abbott had 1,300 employees and 400 contractors on the island. The company quickly mobilized to provide everything from batteries and bug spray to financial assistance through its not-for-profit Clara Abbott Foundation. Employees also had the option to work on an every-other-day schedule while they focused on rebuilding their homes and communities.”

So, What’s Best For You Career Right Now?

The details above regarding Stryker, J&J, and Abbott are impressive and interesting. I love to see companies go the extra mile to take care of their team members. It is always nice to have some additional benefits. But most of us working in the medical device industry realize it’s just frosting on the cake. We often were attracted to this industry, or choose to remain in this industry, because we want our efforts to make a difference in the lives of others. Is that what you are looking for?

While Roth’s article provides three excellent targets for medical device job-seekers, take a good look in the mirror and evaluate your priorities before you take a leap. There are other ways to evaluate opportunities. Are you looking to learn and grow, or are you ready to make a difference and exert some influence to bring about positive change? The culture of an organization has much to do with an associate’s ability to make a difference, but size may be an even greater indicator of your ability to do so.

Based on their performance and some of the benefits listed above, Stryker, J&J, and Abbott would seem to be great places to work. But, how likely are you to create real change in organizations of that size? Large companies have complicated processes, tend to operate inefficiently, and resist change.

In thinking about where you want to work now or next, don’t be afraid to embrace risk and work with a smaller company; maybe even try a startup. In such a situation, the ability to make a difference and have a profound impact on the organization is much more prevalent. However, there is a price to be paid for that opportunity. Working at smaller companies often involves wearing many different hats, having loosely-defined roles, and always adapting to change. For some, this is fun; for others, it is just too chaotic. If you want to be happy in your career, find a place that suits your personality and motivational structure.

Both large companies and small companies have much to offer. Think of it this way: you can have a lot of fun on a cruise ship or a jet ski. Personally, I learned a lot on a couple of cruise ships, but I’d much rather be driving the jet ski!