Originally Published MDDI December 2002 In today's uncertain times, medical device and IVD professionals enjoy a relatively calm job market.Gregg Nighswonger

Gregg Nighswonger

December 1, 2002

8 Min Read
Medical Industries Offer Safe Harbor in Stormy Economy

Originally Published MDDI December 2002

In today's uncertain times, medical device and IVD professionals enjoy a relatively calm job market.

Gregg Nighswonger

Despite an unstable economy, sizable layoffs, and the year's wave of corporate and accounting scandals, most respondents to MD&DI's 14th annual salary survey feel relatively secure in their jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents reported feeling as secure in their jobs as they did last year, while 15% indicated they feel more secure—approximately the same as responses received last year. Additionally, more than 90% of respondents reported receiving a raise from their current employer, and more than half received a bonus last year.


MD&DI's annual salary survey presents a statistical portrait of the publication's readership, which includes professionals working full time in medical device and IVD manufacturing. A number of key factors are considered in the selection of survey participants. These include job segment, demographics, and such professional qualifications as education level and experience, among others.

Most respondents (90%) are employed by organizations that produce only medical devices, 5% work for manufacturers making only in vitro diagnostic products, and 5% work for manufacturers that produce both.

This year's typical survey respondent is a white male who is about 44 years old. He is highly educated, works approximately 48 hours a week, and supervises 5.3 employees. He earns $89,900 annually, and received a 6.3% salary increase with his last raise—slightly less than a typical respondent last year. The average male respondent has worked for the same company for approximately 8 years and has been involved in the industry for nearly 13 years.

In comparison, the typical female respondent is about 42 years of age, is also well educated, and works full time for a device manufacturer. She typically works more than 46 hours per week, and supervises 3 employees. She has worked for the same organization for approximately 7 years, and has been in the industry for more than 11 years. Her annual salary is $76,700, and she also received a 6.3% raise last year.


Figure 1. Average salary levels for each region are shown in yellow, total compensation in black, and percent increases of the last raise in white.

Where a respondent works is still a significant factor in the salary received. Figure 1 compares compensation levels and salary increases among the major regions of the United States—West, Midwest, South, and Northeast. The highest salary and total compensation levels were found in the West, and the lowest average salary level was found in the Midwest. Although the lowest total compensation level was reported in the South, the highest average salary increases (6.6%) were also found in that region. The lowest increases were in the Midwest (5.5%).


Figure 2. Types of compensation offered, by company sales volume.

A competitive salary generally exerts significant influence over a respondent's feelings of job satisfaction. When asked whether the amount they are being paid is "too much," "too little," or "about right," 69% of respondents said their compensation is "about right," while 29% believe their compensation to be "too little." Asked to rate their level of job satisfaction on a five-point scale where 5 is "very satisfied," respondents gave their current jobs an average rating of 3.8.

It is interesting to note that among general and corporate managers, more than half of the respondents said they were "very satisfied" with their current position. And no respondent in this category is actively seeking a new job.

In addition to salary, total compensation includes the various benefits an individual receives. This year, salaries made up 74% of the value of total compensation packages reported by survey respondents. Although health, life, and dental insurance are the most common forms of added compensation, many employers still include stock options, education benefits, and pension plans. Figure 2 provides a summary of the most common forms of benefits provided to respondents as part of compensation.


Figure 3. Involvement in a merger or acquisition.

This year's survey identified that portion of respondents who have been involved in a merger or acquisition in the past year. They were then asked about their feelings of job security. As illustrated in Figure 3, nearly 35% of all respondents this year said their company had either been acquired by another firm or had been involved in a merger in the last year. Involvement in such activity, however, appears to have had little effect on respondents' feelings of job security. Figure 4 reflects the respondents' opinion of job security in comparison to whether or not they had been involved in either a merger or acquisition. Although 18% of all respondents reported feeling less secure in their jobs this year, that proportion does not vary by more than 2%, regardless of whether their organization was involved in a merger or acquisition.


Figure 4. Involvement in a merger or acquisition in the past year does not appear to influence job security.

Profiles are provided for each of the seven job categories included in the survey. These categories include: general and corporate management, marketing, product design engineering, production and manufacturing (including packaging and sterility assurance), quality assurance and quality control, regulatory and legal affairs, and research and development.

Details for each job category include median salary and total compensation levels, average raise and amount of most recent bonus, experience with mergers and acquisitions, feelings of job security, length of time with the firm, and job-seeking status. Salary averages are provided in relation to gender, years in the industry, number of employees supervised, and company size.


Not sure what you're worth? Use our salary approximation worksheet to get an idea.

The Salary Approximation Worksheet on page 60 can be used to predict an individual's annual salary. The worksheet helps illustrate the relative importance, or weight, of various factors that can influence an individual's salary level. These can include education, hours worked per week, and job responsibility, among others. It is interesting to note that, unlike years past, the worksheet for 2002 does not include gender as a factor in the salary prediction. Although male respondents still earn more per year than females, the gap is considerably smaller than it was one year ago—a difference of $13,200 this year, compared with $22,600 in 2001.

The salary worksheet applies only to full-time employees with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $180,000, and for whom salary represents at least 60% of the value of their total compensation package.


In conducting this year's survey, a form was designed jointly by MD&DI and Readex Research Inc. (Stillwater, MN) and mailed by Readex in July and August of this year. A total of 1375 surveys were mailed to medical device professionals. Of this number, 624 surveys were returned with usable responses, which provided a 45% response rate.

The survey results are based on the responses of 557 individuals who identified themselves as full-time professionals working for companies that manufacture medical devices or in vitro diagnostics. These responses were weighted during tabulation to reflect accurate population proportions that are representative of the 28,820 MD&DI recipients. In addition to being segmented according to the seven job functions outlined earlier, segments also reflected the respondents' level of responsibility as follows: CEOs and presidents, vice presidents and directors, department heads and supervisors, and engineers and scientists. The margin of error for percentages based on the 557 weighted responses used is ±4.1% at a 95% confidence level.


The 14th Annual MD&DI Salary Survey is available as a bound reprint that contains a copy of this article, tabular breakdowns for the industry as a whole, and previously unpublished tabular breakdowns for the seven surveyed job functions.

Copies cost $60 each. For more information or to place an order, contact the Reprints Desk, Canon Communications llc, 11444 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064; 310/445-4200, fax 310/445-4299.

Gregg Nighswonger is senior editor of Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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