“This is Bunk. There isn’t and won’t be a shortage. All the med tech MN companies simply aren’t hiring. There is 0 interest in engineers who are experienced & educated to improve & innovate products. Just look over the LinkedIn boards in Med Device to see the large pool of qualified unemployed engineers in MN who have been looking for jobs. Many for 3-4 years. High supply, low demand.” This comment was posted on the Star Tribune website by “iphoney” on March 27, 2017 at 9:52 a.m. It is in response to a March 26, 2016 Star Tribune article Joe Carlson wrote from an interview he had with Talencio’s President and Founder, Paula Norbom, tackling the question, will there be a future shortfall in workers?

The article states, “… talent recruiter Paula Norbom said she thinks the state’s legacy could be tougher to sustain in coming years because of a coming shortfall in qualified workers.”

There will always be talent on the job boards for a variety of reasons:

  • Company was purchased and position eliminated
  • Employee poor performance
  • Lack of funding for a small company leading to downsizing
  • Currently employed and looking for a better opportunity
  • And more

The length of time one is unemployed depends upon a wide variety of factors, some economic and some personal. The economics are turning to be more favorable as high technology labor demand increases.

Perception may be the commenter’s reality however, statistics do not support it. Currently, our state employs 67,000 health technology workers and indirectly creates work for another 100,000, giving us a total of 167,000 workers related to the industry. Let’s look at the facts addressing the question, will there be a future shortfall in workers?

    • 1. Per capita, Minnesota is the largest health technology market in the world and has more patent grants and applications than anywhere else
    • 2. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is estimating a cumulative adjusted growth rate (CAGR) of .6% annually in the overall national employment for the ten year period 2014 – 2024.
    • 3. The medtech and pharmaceutical industries are projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% and 6.1% respectively between now and 2022.
    • 4. The disparity between the growth rates in items 2 and 3 are alarming. Even if one of these estimates were significantly off, there would still be a talent shortage problem in five years.
    • 5. Minnesota has one of the nation’s highest labor participation rates indicating that there are not many workers sitting on the sidelines and available for work.
    • 6. Minnesota has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates – 3.9% at the end of 2016 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The national rate was 4.7%.

Labor Force by Age Bracket

    • 7. The U.S. workforce, in general, is getting older. The median work age in 1994 was 37.7. In 2014 it was 41.9. In 2024 it is projected to be 42.4. Fact, there are not enough younger workers to fill the need of the industry. As Boomers retire, there will not be enough older workers to fill the need of the industry.

8. Universities aren’t churning out qualified engineers and technology experts at high enough rates for fill the talent gap.

When we ask the question, “will there be a future shortfall in workers?” This is not just a Minnesota problem. This is a problem for all states in the nation which seek to hire qualified workers in the health technology industry. As the industry continues to grow, we do not have enough experienced talent to fill the staffing need. The issue is more acute in Minnesota as this sector represents a more significant portion of our state’s economy. This is not bunk. There is clearly a problem on the horizon that we need to address now.

About Talencio: We help the Health Technology community make progress by putting the right people in the right place to solve problems and identify opportunities to move humanity forward. To learn more about opportunities in the health technology field, or to hear how other companies have partnered with Talencio to tap into our skilled professional talent pool, contact us at 612.703.4236 or email. Talencio has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Health Technology Community for over 9 years.

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