5 Critical Healthcare Hiring Trends In 2017

February 1, 2017 Kelly Marc Alston

If there is a more dynamic, rapidly evolving field than healthcare in the United States, we don’t know what it is. Changes in the industry continue to accelerate, driven by patient demographics, economics, politics, technology, medical and pharmaceutical research, education, training, and specialization.

In 2017, all these factors pose challenges for attracting and retaining talent. We’re advising our clients and all human resource professionals in healthcare to start the year with a broad understanding of the following trends.

Strong industry-wide demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.3 million new jobs.” The new jobs will outnumber that of any other group of occupations. These strong growth prospects are due to an aging population and continued health insurance reform that could provide greater access across the population. A majority of the job growth will occur outside of hospitals. Cost pressures are shifting labor demands to outpatient settings including physician offices, clinics, and community health centers. According to Patricia Pittman, Co-Director of the GW Health Workforce Institute at George Washington University, “By 2022, nearly one in eight U.S. jobs is projected to be in the healthcare sector.”

Staffing shortages
The healthcare consulting firm Premier Inc. published its semiannual publication Economic Outlook, which forecasted potentially severe staffing shortages. 51% of surveyed industry executives reported current shortages in personnel and 72% expect continuing shortages to impede progress toward a fee-for-service model of care. Providers continue to value experience, but there is a dearth of experienced candidates for many openings.

High demand for nurses  
CNBC and Glassdoor rated nurse practitioner the 5th fastest-growing job for college graduates, with a median annual salary of $99,500. “The category is ripe with job opportunities, many of which offer high compensation for employees.” Sign-on bonuses are also rising for nurses of all levels of experience, and organizations in especially high-demand areas will have to adjust budgets accordingly. There will be especially high demand for advanced practice nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses, many of whom will be asked to take on duties that were previously the domain of physicians.

Recent graduates in demand
Healthcare institutions are recruiting even more heavily now from schools, especially top institutions. Once students pass their licensing exams, they are usually presented with multiple offers, particularly those in high-demand specializations. Given the high level of competition for graduates, employers that offer advancement potential, better healthcare benefits, and continuing education reimbursement are more likely to win their services.

More support and specialized personnel needed
As healthcare staff grows, more managers, recruiters, human resource personnel, and generalists will be needed to hire and support them. Much of this work will be outsourced to group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Additionally, population health is becoming more essential to the economics of providing greater access to care. This will require more workers who specialize in data analysis and working with patients to navigate the increasingly complex healthcare systems. Larger institutions have created departments for this purpose, and smaller providers will increasingly need GPOs to administer these functions.

To stay up to date with trending topics in healthcare, check out our resources page. We post frequent industry updates including curated articles, blog posts, and other resources to keep you up to date and informed.

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