SINGAPORE (July 23): The Singapore government has earmarked the medical technology sector as one of the key growth drivers for the economy.

To date, Singapore’s medtech has generated some 9,000 new jobs across more than 30 companies, and has contributed approximately $4.3 billion to the economy.

But while Singapore’s efforts to groom medtech talent and bring in experts from specialised fields have been successful, this is still insufficient, says Randstad in a report.

That’s because as the world’s population ages – especially in Asia -- the number of patients is set to increase, causing demand for accessible healthcare to rise exponentially.

“This creates a unique opportunity for the industry to come up with innovative, scalable and cost-efficient solutions to cater to the demand,” says the Netherlands-based recruitment firm.

In fact, Asia Pacific’s medtech industry is expected to hit US$133 billion ($181 billion) in 2020, a surge of nearly 17 times from its US$8-billion value in 2015.

This would make Asia Pacific the second-largest market in the world, with Singapore – the region’s healthcare hub -- well-positioned to tap its growth.

With such high growth potential, the Singapore government has begun making significant investments to attract medtech companies to set up their Asia Pacific HQ here.

Fortunately, Randstad says the talent crunch can be mitigated by allowing stakeholders to have better access to the resources required to resolve critical healthcare issues.

According to Randstad, Singapore should also avoid looking at the medtech industry as a field for only healthcare professionals, but instead expand its sights to include candidates from other specialisations.

These include experts in regional sales and marketing, R&D and engineers who are into smart manufacturing.

Randstad says factors that make Singapore an appealing location for medtech companies include its strong IP laws and supportive legislation for the R&D of medical devices and solutions.

Easy access to resources, the availability of collaborative research labs and a smart talent pool are also reasons why healthcare companies have found Singapore a conducive place to conduct research.

One example is Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Plan (RIE2020), which has set aside $3.2 billion to promote advanced manufacturing and engineering research that would be beneficial for medtech.