In looking at the numbers, the state of health care employment appears to be in a good place—in fact not just good, but great. But does that tell the
Currently, the healthcare industry makes up more than 13 percent of the U.S. workforce (that's 19 million jobs). Projections point to soaring health
care employment numbers with the addition of more than 4.2 million jobs from 2010 to 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics/BLS).
But, can the number of existing and future health care professionals fill the projected open positions needed to meet the country's health care needs?
Health care jobs today
At HEALTHeCAREERS Network (HeCN) we continue to see an influx of openings. In
February 2012 more than 8,800 new job postings were added to the network along with another 6,600 renewal postings. To meet the growing job seeker and
employer needs, we are looking for new ways to bring employers and candidates together. In April we put our focus on New York City (NYC) where 10
percent of all open health care jobs reside by hosting our first Career Fair for Tri-State
area medical professionals. Check out our infographic on
Tri-state area health care job openings
Network data and employment trends tell us the areas that need immediate consideration in terms of hiring trends and forecasts are with physicians,
nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and nurses. The NYC Career Fair focused on NPs, PAs, and physicians due to those immediate needs
—nearly 80 percent of openings in New York are for physician and surgeon jobs. With nursing, we know that the most recent shortage has leveled out,
but increased job demand projections have administrators planning for the next shortage.
Outlook: Physician jobs
Physician jobs remain the most difficult to fill positions in health care; on HEALTHeCAREERS there are more than 5,800 physician and surgeon jobs with family medicine jobs topping the list of
specialty physician and surgeons openings. But, industry trends tell us that the existing number of candidates cannot fill the large number of open
positions coming as a result of an aging population - both with retiring physicians and with aging Baby Boomers increasing the demand for health care
Does this mean we are looking at a physician shortage? In a word, yes, but alternatives exist, giving other practitioners more opportunities. Mid-levels are stepping up to fill the gaps;
and physician assistants are taking on more primary care duties by both seeing and
Outlook: Nursing jobs
are poised to play an important role by adding significantly to the nation's overall job growth. Projections indicate that registered nurses,
home health aides and personal care aides will see about 2 million new jobs and 700,000 job openings from vacancies and attrition from 2010 to 2020
(BLS). Administrators will also be in short supply due to health care employment projections.
Despite a healthy pipeline for nurses, we've identified some interesting hiring trends. Right now, employers are seeking experienced nurses; nearly 94
percent of HeCN's nursing jobs are for experienced nurses (not entry-level).
Finally, we are seeing a high percentage (41 percent) of nursing jobs being renewed after the initial 30-day term, which likely means employers did not
find someone to fill their job in the first month it was posted. This could be attributed to the fact that the sector is seeing unusually low turnover
rates, according to a recent survey by the
American Journal of Nursing
Projected job growth is enough to keep everyone optimistic, but the harsh reality is it matters little if there aren't high quality candidates to fill
those positions. It's important that the industry continue to be creative in filling gaps created by a physician shortage, while also preparing for
more disruption in the nursing employment picture. The job opportunities are there; now it's a matter of making them as attractive as possible to newly
trained health care professionals, and providing the post graduate education to increase professional expertise.
Mike Tansey is the CEO of HEALTHeCAREERS, the only single-source healthcare recruitment solution.