Widespread Layoffs Leave MedTech Professionals Shaky on Job Security

Sizable layoffs this year from the likes of Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Abbott Vascular, among others, have undeniably rattled the medical device industry. But to what degree?

MD+DI‘s sister site, Qmed, recently reviewed some of the most-significant layoffs in 2013 and conducted a poll asking readers how secure they feel in their current jobs. The results were enlightening and provide some interesting insights into the mood of medtech professionals during these turbulent times.

The good news is that a respectable 12% of the 250 respondents boasted that they were sitting pretty and felt very secure in their current positions. Balancing out that optimism, however, is the harsh reality that 9% of respondents were victims of the sweeping layoffs that have plagued the industry during the past few years.

As you may expect, the majority of respondents indicated that they feel relatively secure in their jobs. But that’s not to say that they’re confident. These respondents, understandably, harbor a nagging fear of losing their job; however, they don’t let that fear rule them.

Medtech job security

In contrast—and most interestingly, perhaps—a significant 31% of respondents noted that they feel downright insecure in their current jobs and constantly fear that they may be handed their walking papers at any given moment. This statistic is vexing, to say the least. If this poll is properly reflecting the general temperament of medtech professionals, almost one-third of respondents are, essentially, going into work every day on edge.

While layoffs are an unfortunate reality of the business world, wave after wave of them undoubtedly take their toll on the workers that remain and, in turn, the company. Constant fear of losing one’s job can drive a company’s promising or top talent elsewhere in search of a more-stable environment. Furthermore, let’s face it: Employee morale and company loyalty are likely in the toilet. And what about productivity and quality? Although you can make the case that fear can motivate people, it can certainly be damaging as well in terms of shifting focus and serving as a distraction.

These are clearly problems without easy answers and that extend beyond just the medical device industry. But the byproduct of these seemingly endless medical device industry layoffs may just be the emergence of a culture of fear and a host of new problems with which companies may now have to contend.

Job cuts are cutting deep, and medical device companies need to work on healing that gaping wound for the health of the industry.

Shana Leonard is executive editor of the UBM Canon MedTech Group.

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