Recruitment Roadblocks in the HealthTech Industry

Like finding needles in a haystack?


The UK healthcare industry is at the forefront of innovation, leveraging technology to revolutionise healthcare delivery, patient outcomes and improve operational efficiencies. The HealthTech market in the UK is witnessing exponential growth, with investments reaching $3.8b in 2021 alone. However, as the sector experiences rapid growth, it continues to grapple with several recruitment challenges.

Talent shortage in specialised areas

Speaking to senior figures from a range of HealthTech organisations, it is apparent that one of the most pressing challenges for HealthTech companies is the shortage of talent in highly specialised areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare and medical device development. The “demand for occupations such as managers, technology specialists, and health professionals could rise nearly 20 percent by 2030, while demand for administrative and manual roles could decline just as steeply.”  Furthermore, the HealthTech industry faces intense competition from tech giants, pharma companies and startups for tech talent. Research further shows that “by 2030, two thirds of the UK workforce could be lacking in basic digital skills, while more than 10 million people could be under skilled in leadership, communication, and decision making.”

To tackle this, it’s important to develop proactive talent acquisition strategies, and invest in upskilling the existing workforce to foster skills development and career growth. Companies should also showcase their unique value propositions, offer attractive compensation packages, and cultivate a compelling company culture that aligns with tech professionals’ aspirations.

Interdisciplinary skills gap

HealthTech innovation requires professionals who have a blend of technical skills and clinical understanding with deep domain knowledge and business acumen. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) revealed that 49% of companies in the engineering and technology sectors faced difficulties “with a lack of skills available in the external labour market and 45% skills gaps or limitations within their internal workforce.”  For the HealthTech industry, finding candidates who possess an interdisciplinary skillset is a significant pain point. While technical roles like software engineers and data scientists are crucial, equally important are professionals with clinical backgrounds (doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals) who can bridge the gap between technology and patient care.

Businesses should focus on building capabilities to support innovation and scale up to foster a culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration between technical and domain-specific teams. In addition, they should further encourage knowledge sharing and invest in continuous learning and development initiatives.

Regulatory complexity and compliance expertise

The intersection of healthcare and technology brings forth complex regulatory landscapes that HealthTech companies need to navigate. The industry operates in a highly regulated environment, with stringent compliance requirements such as GDPR in data management and NHS Digital Standards in healthcare software development. The constant changes in healthcare regulations require candidates who are not only knowledgeable, but also adaptable and proactive in keeping up to date with regulatory changes. The demand for professionals with expertise in regulatory affairs and quality assurance far exceeds the available talent pool. “They are in such high demand that they typically work as consultants rather than take full time positions within HealthTech companies, especially within SMEs.”

Recruiting professionals well-versed in these regulatory frameworks is challenging and critical for maintaining legal and ethical standards in product development and data management. It is crucial to raise awareness about the importance of regulatory affairs and quality assurance roles. Moreover, there needs to be collaborations between the industry and universities to bridge the gap through offering high-level regulatory and compliance training and other related courses.

Hiring the right talent in HealthTech is necessary for driving innovation and maintaining competitiveness in the market. In this fast-evolving industry, continuous learning and career development are critical for employee engagement, retention, and skill enhancement. However, limited opportunities for professional growth, lack of mentorship and development, and unclear career pathways can hinder recruitment and retention efforts. Companies can address these pain points strategically and holistically by implementing robust learning and development programmes, offering coaching opportunities, sponsoring certification, and promoting internal mobility and career progression. By addressing these pain points, HealthTech companies can overcome recruitment challenges, build high-performing teams, drive innovation and contribute significantly to advancing healthcare in the UK.

Hasnaa Alkhateeb

[email protected]

Martin Tripp Associates is a specialist executive search consultancy. We work globally across the media, information, technology, video games and entertainment sectors, and with some of the world’s biggest brands on communications, digitalmarketing and technology roles. Feel free to contact us to discuss.