Making an Impact - Tom Froggatt on Life Sciences

Making an Impact - Tom Froggatt on Life Sciences

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“We make no claim to be curing cancer, but some of the people we work with are. They’re improving, extending and saving lives.”

 

Over his career Tom Froggatt, Meet’s Associate Director in London, has worked with some truly incredible companies. One in particular stands out for him, “They make artificial limbs for kids.” If that wasn’t powerful enough, Tom goes on to tell us, “They’ve got licensing deals with Marvel and Disney so that a child who’s lost their arm can have a Captain America or Elsa replacement. Their disability becomes a super power.”

Aside from a 2-year foray into Oil and Gas, Tom has worked in the Life Sciences industry for his entire recruitment career. Since 2006, that has seen him partner with hundreds of clients, work in various markets within Life Sciences, set up a division in New York and for the last 18 months, lead the permanent team in Meet’s London HQ.

Above all, what has engaged Tom in the industry for the last 12 years is the tangible impact Life Sciences recruitment can have, “All of these horrible diseases - Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, Cancer – If we can get the right people into projects where they deliver life changing technologies then we’ve played a part in that ecosystem. I think that’s really rewarding.”

It’s not just the impact on the individual, “Another company thinks they can use digital technology to genetically diagnose diabetes up to 6 years before any symptoms show.” This early diagnosis means that the condition can be managed through diet and life style. “Not only is that significant for the individual but it also removes a huge burden from the healthcare system; particularly as the cost of a diabetes patient is 35 times greater to the NHS than the average person.”

But, he also finds Life Sciences recruitment interesting from a commercial point of view…

“It’s diverse, it’s international and it’s stable.”

 

At Meet we currently work across Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices and Medical Communications. Each of those sectors have niche markets and diverse roles to recruit for. Tom explains, “We do a lot, but there’s also a lot we don’t do. That’s really exciting because it means each sector can grow exponentially without going outside of our core focus.”

Where does Tom see that growth? “We’re already seeing it. For example, the Medical Devices team has grown from 1 to 6 in the last 18 months.”

Tom also sees potential growth in markets we don’t currently cover, “There’s room for expansion into early stage R&D and drug development. There’s also more we can do on the commercial side; digital health and technology are areas we’ve started to explore and have had a lot of early success in. These areas are the future of the industry.”

And explains that the business model will grow, “Currently we operate a fairly traditional specialist recruitment agency model. But, we have an executive search business which will grow and we’re growing our contract business considerably too.”

With offices in London, New York, San Francisco and Chicago, Meet already take advantage of the International nature of the Life Sciences industry. But, with the launch of a Berlin office planned over the next 6-9 months our influence can only increase!

“Berlin is our first European office. It will really scale up the German business which is doing well and is a platform into Europe for the rest of the group as well.”

 

Meet’s international expansion has provided exciting opportunities for the team too, “One of my Team Leaders is in the process of relocating to our New York office. I’m sad to lose him but it’s absolutely the best opportunity for him. The more varied experience you can get the better, it gives you a more rounded skill set and exposure to working with people from a different background - it will set you up for your career in the future.”

Tom made a similar move early on in his career, “I lived in NYC for two and a half years. At that point I’d never managed anyone and was asked to set up a brand-new business which I grew to a division with a couple of million turnover. I learnt so much, it accelerated my career significantly.”

Finally, Tom touches on the stability of the industry, “It’s recession proof. I was recruiting in the Life Sciences in 2008, when we had the last recession and it was my best year. Of course, it is affected by the economy but it’s not as reactive as other industries – people will always need drugs.”

Even in the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit Tom can see potential, “No one knows what’s going to happen. But it will create opportunities that we’ve got to be positioned to take advantage of.”

Whether businesses relocate to Europe or there is an increase in investment from companies outside of the EU, Tom believes there will be movement in the industry and therefore potential for recruiting great talent – a confidence that’s reflected by the UK government.

“Life Sciences is one of the industries the UK government is investing in heavily.”

 

He tells us, “They’ve had Progress in getting multinational companies to commit to building infrastructure in the UK and are investing heavily in R&D.”

Obviously, Life Sciences is an industry that inspires Tom, but does it really make a difference to the day to day job? “Recruitment is recruitment. The fundamentals of the job are the same but there are different flavours. What’s interesting about Life Sciences is you get to meet a lot of people who are really engaged with what they do.”

“In many industries money is the main motivation. But, in Life Sciences people are motivated by impact.”

 

Recruitment is all about understanding what motivates people, “It’s interesting to find out why people do what they do in this industry. Particularly in more technical or senior roles because you have to be clued up on the project. Passive candidates are not going to jump at the first thing that comes along, they want to be involved in a project that’s really exciting.”

“The best people are in demand, so you have to be able to sell opportunities in a way that will engage them. That means clients will share a lot of detail about what they’re working on. It’s not for everyone, but personally I find that fascinating.”

Are you wondering if you have to be from a scientific background to be as passionate? The answer is no... “I’ve got an English degree. I’ve learnt everything I know about the industry on the job – but I do write a very good email.”

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