Jobs boost for Scottish medtech firms

Key sectors in Scotland’s life sciences industry are seeing a major boost from growth in demand on the back of the pandemic, according to the founder of a specialist recruitment firm.

Recruitment expert Ivor Campbell says Covid-19 has led to increased investment and job openings in the Scottish life sciences sector. Picture: contributed.

Clinical diagnostics firms in particular have attracted significant levels of fresh investment and a number of new start-ups have been launched in the sector amid the global focus on dealing with Covid-19.

Ivor Campbell, chief executive of Callander-based specialist medical technology (medtech) recruitment firm Snedden Campbell, said there was now a major recruitment drive among diagnostic companies in Scotland and the UK more broadly.

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“Until March 2020, our business was split 50-50 between the UK and an arc across western Europe from Barcelona to Copenhagen,” said Mr Campbell, who in 2001 founded his firm that primarily focuses on diagnostics companies.

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He added: “Since Covid, everything has been focused on the UK. Historically we would have our work cut out to fill our time with UK projects; now all our revenue is being generated out of the UK and, for the first time, multiple clients here in Scotland.”

There are some 250 medtech companies in Scotland out of the 3,700 in the UK, most of which are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and generate a combined turnover of £21 billion.

According to Mr Campbell, who launched his own firm after working for a number of recruitment businesses, the Scottish and UK medtech industry is now on a rapid growth trajectory, with new opportunities opening up in the US and Asia Pacific markets as Brexit encourages companies to double down on their efforts to look further afield.

He said: “An upside for many medtech businesses, because they tend to be primarily a high-margin and low-volume traders, is that the practical differences between selling in Sydney or Paris aren’t that high.

“For most Scottish and UK medtech companies, their big market has always been the US; the EU not so much. The US remains a land of plenty for a lot of Scottish diagnostics companies and many see their futures increasingly in Asia Pacific. Most have somebody based in China and India and, in normal times, Australia is becoming a regular haunt for sales directors.”

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