Healthcare News & Insights

23% of organizations have open healthcare jobs they can’t fill

Health care is still one of the most active job markets in the US. There are lot of jobs out there for skilled professionals, and healthcare organizations are struggling to find talent – especially for health IT jobs. 

The medical field needs a lot of workers — 13% of all jobs in the US are in health care — and the recession has had little impact on the industry compared to others. Overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will be adding 5.6 million new health care jobs from 2010 through 2020, the biggest increase of any industry.

This year especially will be big for healthcare jobs, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Among the 274 healthcare hiring managers, 22% said their organizations plan to add staff in 2013. That’s up from 19% in 2012.

And so far, that hasn’t been easy — 23% of hiring managers say they currently have at least one open position.

As organizations switch to EHRs and adopt other health IT systems, many of those open healthcare jobs are IT-related. Most health organizations (97%) said they’re looking to hire for IT jobs, according one survey conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. And 67% said they’re experiencing a shortage of qualified health IT applicants.

Finding qualified talent for health IT jobs

While finding qualified applications to fill open positions will continue to be difficult — especially for health IT jobs — there are some steps organizations can do to beat the competition and find new talent.

Here are some of the best practices providers can follow:

  1. Train current staff in the skills the organization needs — If a provider can’t find an employee with a certain skill set, many experts say the best bet is to create that employee in-house. That means either training someone within the organization, or finding an applicant with a strong general skill set and a good cultural fit and giving them training to meet the organization’s needs. The latter approach is becoming especially popular, as 67% of providers plan to hire and train people without experience in health care, up from 33% last year. In health IT especially, that practice often works, as there are many more general IT pros than there are candidates who have experience specifically with EHRs and other health IT systems.
  2. Use more temporary staff and contractors — When full-time employees are hard to find, healthcare organizations often turn to temporary staffing and contracting firms. This year, 36% of providers plan to hire contractors or temp workers. The practice can be especially beneficial for health IT, where big projects such as an EHR implementation often necessitate a temporary staff increase.
  3. Scout employees working for competitors — With a shortage of applicants actively looking for a new job, many providers are trying to tap into the so-called passive talent pool — i.e., people not actively looking but willing to make a change if the right opportunity comes along. Among healthcare employees surveyed by CareerBuilder, 20% said they’ve been called by an employer when they didn’t apply for a position. One top place providers can look for those folks: social networks.
  4. Increase salaries — While providers must still cut costs when they can, salaries are becoming an area where the budget can’t be too tight. To avoid losing out on new hires and having current employees bolt for a competitor, the vast majority (76%) of healthcare organizations say they plan to increase salaries this year. That’s up from 65% last year. And 53% say they’ll offer new hires more pay, too.

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