The controversial medical device excise tax – established to help fund healthcare reform – continues to rouse debate. Opponents argue the tax puts an undue hardship on device companies and will ultimately stifle growth and innovation. Supporters say the cost to device companies should be offset by an expanded customer base, now that more Americans have access to health coverage.
Members of Congress are trying to repeal the tax, but for now, the excise tax continues to ruffle feathers throughout the industry – influencing decisions at the executive level that often impact medical device representatives.
Here are the top ways the device tax is changing medical sales jobs and the job search:
Limited job market
The medical device tax means employers in the industry may have less money to hire the medical sales reps they need. A survey released by AdvaMed, a medical device trade association, in January found that two-thirds of companies surveyed have slowed or halted U.S. job creation in response to the device tax.
The report estimates that the tax will result in 39,000 fewer industry jobs when considering those that have been lost and those that haven’t been created.
Medical sales companies pressed for resources still need skilled professionals, but they may be more selective and less likely to hire industry newcomers. They’ll need their reps to bring value from day one, and won’t want to waste time and money training new reps.
For experienced professionals, finding medical sales jobs may not be more difficult. But for entry-level professionals, the medical device tax is making the job search a serious challenge.
Strained healthcare system
The medical device tax not only puts pressure on medical sales companies, but on health systems, hospitals, and healthcare providers as well. In the evolving healthcare landscape, professionals must care for more patients with smaller teams and smaller budgets. In addition, hospitals and healthcare providers may use older equipment for longer to save money.
At the same time, many companies are trying to offset the tax by raising the prices of their products, making it that much harder for medical sales reps to close a sale. Medical sales reps need to understand the needs of their clients from both a clinical and economic standpoint.
One way to better meet the needs of clients may be to take an educational or consultative approach, rather than focusing on the sale as the end goal.
As healthcare changes, the skills required to succeed in medical sales jobs are changing too. The medical device tax is adding pressure to an already pressurized environment, and purchasing decisions are no longer left to individual physicians.
Executives are holding the purse strings, and they’re holding them tightly. To get the job and the sale, medical sales reps need to think beyond the care team. The decision making-process includes C-Level executives, and reps will need to address their needs and concerns.
More with less
The device tax is also making medical sales jobs more challenging, as reps have smaller teams and fewer resources to work with. In fact, the AdvaMed survey found that three-quarters of respondents have deferred or cancelled investments and plans to open new facilities, reduced investments in startups, and reduced increases in compensation for their employees.
Like healthcare providers, medical device companies must find ways to do more with less. Companies prioritize their needs, and some take a backseat. Companies are required to make tough decisions about resources and expenses every day, but the excise tax adds an extra layer of difficulty.
For job seekers, this means that breaking into medical sales will be more difficult, and that medical sales jobs will be more challenging for both old and new sales reps.
What do you think? What affects of the medical device tax have you seen on medical sales jobs?