The MedTech Conference Takeaways: Part 3

Workforce Trends: Hire Differently!

by Scott Whitaker, President and CEO, AdvaMed

The MedTech Conference has grown into the industry’s premier annual event worldwide. Every year, attendees come away with unmatched insights, connections, and enthusiasm for their work in this incredible industry. At this year’s event held in October in California, keynote speakers covered everything on the minds of our industry’s most forward-thinking players: the digital transformation of health care, AI, top trends, global policy developments, workforce diversity opportunities, and lessons for aspiring leaders. Here are some highlights I took away from this year’s tremendous event … 

Stop hiring for degrees. Start hiring for capacity to learn.  

Ginni Rometty, former chairman, president, and CEO at IBM, was raised by a single parent. With four children, her mother sought more education when she could to improve her job prospects.  

“What my mom showed me was access and aptitude are two different things. My mom had aptitude. She had no access. That’s pretty true for a lot of people. God spreads talent pretty evenly. But access? Uh-uh.”  

At IBM, that realization translated into seeing many job requirements were over-credentialed. More important than degrees were skills and a capacity to learn. The majority of employees lacking degrees would go on to earn them. This approach is critical to hiring more Black and Hispanic employees and building a more diverse, inclusive, and better workforce, Rometty said. “Where you start should not determine where you end.” 

The Cleveland Clinic leads in this new approach, she said. A potential employee said all he did was run Army logistics and could be a janitor. “They’re like, do you think [Army logistics] is not the same as moving ambulances around?’”  

Rometty is co-chairman of OneTen, a coalition of companies, including several medtech companies, to upskill, hire and promote one million Black individuals into careers over the next ten years. 

Along similar lines, Stryker CEO and chairman Kevin Lobo said its trauma division is hiring as sales people those with trauma experience, such as former EMTs – without college degrees. “We’re not just chasing numbers. We’re actually trying to produce better results,” he said. 

What would you tell your early career self?: “Growth and comfort never co-exist.” 

Rometty once hesitated over her readiness when she was offered a big job. Her husband asked if a man would have responded that way, not as a gender point, but to emphasize the need for an accurate self-assessment of her abilities and capacity for risk. She said “growth and comfort never co-exist” is the biggest piece of advice she gives.  

For more of these valuable insights, join The MedTech Conference 2024, October 15 to October 17, in Toronto, Canada.