Business Today

Beeping for talent

Shamni Pande | Print Edition: June 26, 2011

The medical devices industry in India has woken up to the need for specialised talent. Both headhunting firms and top talents from across segments are now looking at the job openings in a sector that was never seen as separate from the general healthcare segment, much as it should have been. "Our requirements are very different from the pharma companies," says Manish Sinha, Human Resources Director of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) India, the local unit of the $7.5-billion medical technology giant. "We partner with health foundations and take on issues relating to safe and healthy practices. We need people who can bring vision and focus to the table."

Medtronics India, the Indian arm of another US-based firm, wants people who are quick on the uptake. "We need people who have skills in problem solving and can take quick decisions," says Titus Arnold, HR Director (South Asia). Medtronics regularly trains its staff and health practitioners at its hi-tech virtual labs, updating them on the latest developments in the field. The healthcare industry is currently estimated at Rs 1.71 trillion (one trillion is 100,000 crore), and is expanding at a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 12 per cent.

Who is hiring: Medtronic, Becton Dickinson, J&J, Atrium
Salaries junior level: Rs 4-10 lakh
Middle level: Rs 14-25 lakh
Senior level: over Rs 38 lakh
Top level: over Rs 70 lakh
In comparison, the medical devices industry is worth Rs 10,000 crore and is growing at 15 per cent. A combination of factors, including growing awareness, better technologies and innovations that seek to make health care more affordable, are driving the growth. "Many international medical devices companies that were operating through Indian channel partners are setting up their own manufacturing facilities here," says Abira Bhattacharjee, Associate Vice President, Elixir Consulting, a recruitment process outsourcing firm. The industry's needs are diverse.

To sell their products, companies require professionals with better skillsets than the usual sales personnel of pharma companies. Local companies engaged in research to find low-cost solutions want specialists. "At one level, we need people who can deal with key stakeholders such as research centres, clinical laboratories and hospitals," says Sinha of BD. "At another, we also need people who are familiar with tier-II cities and their growing needs, as well as people who run small nursing homes."

Designations in this industry may not be very different from those in others, but the requirements are. Good news: medical devices companies tend to pay better than those in related industries. With more players setting up shop in India, the hiring spree has just begun. "We are looking at talent not just from within the industry, but also from other sectors such as consumer goods, telecom, banking and financial services," says Bhattacharjee.

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