Report: Minnesota’s Health Tech Industry Is Flush With Job Openings



By Sam Schaust, Twin Cities Business

“The state’s health technology industry is hungry for new talent, according to a workforce report from Medical Alley.

Job postings within the sector rose 33 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, the Golden Valley-based health tech trade association said. Of the state’s 931 health technology companies—defined as those working on medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotech, or digital health—workforce figures topped 48,000 employees with a total economic impact of $14.2 billion.”

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  • Jeff Pesek

    Interesting stuff…here’s the high level breakdown of companies & jobs by three subsectors: med device, bio/pharma, digital health.

    With as much attention and momentum that the local digital health sector is seeing, there are still twice as many firms in the bio/pharma category and about 6 times in the medical device space here in Minnesota.

    • Matt Otterstatter

      Thanks for the conversation, gentlemen. For the sake of this region’s future viability in healthcare, I sure hope those numbers shift to align with macro trends. Digital health is unquestionably the future of healthcare, while the other areas show major weakness.

      Global funding for med device startups has been drying up for years, and due to their extensive regulatory pathway the incremental improvements that result rarely justify the business risks. The devices themselves are being commoditized while any software layer on top is the one with the profit margins.

      Eroom’s law would suggest pharma is not a smart place to be operating, either. In fact most large drug co’s have established venture arms to explore digital health because their own drug pipeline is too lean and it scares the hell out of them. I can’t really comment on biotech, so that might be the exception, but if I were a betting man, I’d say in 30 years the only way Medtronic survives is if they move up the value chain into digital health.

      • Frank Jaskulke

        I’m with you 90%
        The 10% is that I don’t “hope the numbers shift to align with macro trends.” I think we are aligned with the macro trends and growing rapidly.
        What I really wish is that we had data on digital health employment and company estimates in the other states and countries so we could get some perspective.
        Biotech is one hell of an area right now. Only in biotech can you regularly get $1 billion + exits on phase 2 data. $0 revenue, 4-8 years from market, $1 billion+ exit.

  • Frank Jaskulke

    Thanks for picking this up! on the 2x pharma nd 6x device – that does make a bit of sense. The device industry started in force in 1959 with Medtroinc, now the worlds largest device company. And Pharma has a longer time.
    Also, maybe more importantly, the digital health job number is based on what we could find. It is almost certain that there are more companies and people working in the sector.

    • Jeff Pesek

      Hi Frank, it does make sense and totally puts things in perspective.

      It’s weird how MNs med device industry is 6x digital health and bio is twice, as one would think that local legacy media would be paying closer attention to those realms than they decidedly do.

      I see so much happening in those spaces tangentially that’s outside our scope (but seriously interesting and newsworthy) that never gets picked from other/any local sources. I’m sure you see more of it than most from your vantage point, too.

      Side note: how do you feel about the fact that legacy media in Minnesota turns a blind eye to so much of the magnificent stories happening here, only to publish so much trivial content in comparison to what’s really relevant in the local medtech & pharma industries?

      (Kinda goes back to the whole conversation earlier how nobody in media was tallying all the healthcare fundings so you/Medical Alley took the initiative to get some clarity)

      Overall, it’s a nice report – consise and visual. I found some of the content (pages 5/6, 9/10, 13/14) as out of place, almost seemingly advertorial.

      Do you have a list of the 105 digital health establishments considered?

  • Frank Jaskulke

    Hi Jeff,
    The advertorial you refer to is advertorial. We didn’t charge the companies to place the content but did reach out to members to share information about the market and their firm. Members pay our bills – we keep them happy and I’m happy.
    First I’ll admit my biases. I don’t think of legacy media. I think of Journalists and not journalists. There are journalists outside of what you call legacy media and their are not journlists within news organizations.
    There are tons of stories I’d love to see covered but I understand why they are not. I have a lot of journalist friends and collegues because of my partner. She worked as a reporter after college and made many friends. I’ve asked me of them about the coverage and the answers make sense (dones’t mean I like them).
    – There are always tons of stories that don’t get covered, not just in this world. Journalists ususally have multiple beats, have to cater to a diverse auidence (folks who read make up a portion of the stribs readership for example but not all of it.
    – Small companies often don’t spend the time to develop newsworthy stories.
    – Many small companeis don’t spend the time to write an actual press release and send it to the media. if a journalist has a tech beat they cover a lot of things. They can only develop so many sources. Help them out. This is espeically true with fundraising. Sometimes it feels like Minnesota companies don’t want to let people know they have money :)
    We spend a lot of time with trade publications. Their job is to cover the industry, makes it easier to get stories. The readership tends to be form the industry,too, so you don’t get the public awareness but it does support another goal: corporate development and investment. Medcity News and Mass Device are two in my space.

    • Jeff Pesek

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Frank

  • Arthur

    Where are these jobs posted? There is lots of talent looking for more meaningful work, or just work in general. I think part of the problem is visibility it’s hard to find where these jobs are posted, on top of that often times the terminology used is different between the tech/medical worlds. There seems to be a weird wall between the MN tech scene and the MN medical scene.

    • Frank Jaskulke

      Arthur – I’m 100% with you on the weird wall between tech and medical. medical device, biotech is high tech and Minnesota has been doing it for years.
      On where are the jobs – they are all over. Company websites, aggregator boards (indeed and others) and other places.
      One of the big challenges is the mismatch between need and skill. Needs change quickly, skills change less quickly.
      Make it. MSP has a job board that supposedly scrapes just about every company and job board in the state, they have 41000 some listings across all industries.

  • Louis Kingsolver

    The complaints about not being able to find med-tech workers sound the same as those from other MN high tech companies. Yet, Minnesota companies won’t hire people from out of state. Often times job ads explicitly say, don’t bother applying unless you’re already in the TC metro. I’m not sure what to make of local companies who say they are desperate and “hungry” for talent yet can’t be bothered to expand their recruitment reach.

    • Frank Jaskulke

      I’ve seen many companies hire out state. What I don’t see is small and medium sized companies paying for relocation. Just don’t have the money.

      The big firms will do it for key roles but even then it’s rare.

      I’ve never seen a job add that don’t apply if you’re in the twin cities. I’ve postings with no relo mentioned

      • Jeff Pesek

        not sure what that comment was or why deleted?

        • Frank Jaskulke

          Oh that is weird. It cut off the comment. Iproblay hit something. It should have said I’ve seen postings that say no relocation but not ones that no one from Mankato or Madison allowed.