Why Engineers Feel Medtech Firms Discriminate Against Them

Qmed Staff

January 28, 2016

3 Min Read
Why Engineers Feel Medtech Firms Discriminate Against Them

While there has been talk of discrimination against women and minorities in engineering, a recent Qmed poll revealed that many engineers in general feel either discriminated or at least unfairly paid for their work creating intellectual property for their employer, explains a reader in the anonymous letter to the editor below.

Qmed Staff

When sales representatives make a sale, they continue to get a portion of the profit from that sale in repeat orders from customers (residuals). Engineers, however, typically don't receive residual payments for their efforts. In fact, when my last product was released and my boss wanted to give me a bonus for my efforts, our CFO said, 'why should I pay him extra for doing his job?' 

The common incentive structures for most engineers do a poor job of motivating them. While the role of sales staff is undeniably important, engineers often feel comparatively undervalued by their employer. Engineers play a role that is no less important as they invent, develop, create, and provide the finished product, but do not receive equal compensation for their efforts.

Engineers also seem frustrated by the prospects of negotiating alternate compensation arrangements. What engineer has ever negotiated to maintain ownership of any IP, or receive any portion of the proceeds from an invention (that applies to the company they will be working for) when starting a new job? Even more, I would love to hear from anyone who has successfully re-negotiated with a company they currently work for to receive a residual from anything they create.

While other professionals such as attorneys and marketers can leverage their past experience when starting new jobs, engineers often struggle to do so because the IP they helped develop for another employer remains off limits. What laws are there to help engineers protect their thoughts, their property, their experience, their skills, and their income in return?

In the end, marketers and engineers need other, and their skill sets are often mutually exclusive. We need each other to be successful, yet the system is not set up to reward each type of individual equally for their contribution.

Are engineers being discriminated against? Is there a social bias in business to keep engineers in a lower position (in the back of the bus so to speak)? While such statements may seem ridiculous at first glance, these seem to be real problems as many engineers can personally attest. While engineers' starting salaries are relatively high, their career prospects tend to be dim compared with many of their peers in other departments. This is not fair.

Maybe engineers should draw inspiration from equal rights movements and speak up for themselves. Shouldn't engineers be equally compensated for their contributions?

Independent inventors rarely come to a medtech company with an invention fully developed, qualified, and with approvals, yet they usually receive full royalties for their ideas (even when the company has to complete development). Why are employed engineers offered any less for their creativity than an outside source?

In my company (and I would think most) engineers don't just sit around and throw out ideas in order to get paid. There are mountains of paperwork to complete, meetings and timelines to organize and run, collaboration, and testing to organize and complete or oversee. We get paid to do all the day-to-day development activities, but we don't get compensated for our creativity.

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