The aging U.S. population and other demographic factors are driving an increasing demand for workers in the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that healthcare occupations will add 1.9 million new jobs through 2028, an increase of 14 percent. This growth rate is much higher than the average for all other occupational fields. In addition to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, support staff such as administrators, information technology professionals, attorneys, billing specialists, and accounting staff are needed by hospitals, physician groups, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare organizations.
Greater demand for skilled workers, coupled with record low unemployment makes it a difficult hiring market for healthcare employers. Turnover at hospitals hit a new high of 19.1 percent in 2018, despite the median annual wage rate for healthcare practitioners and related technical jobs outpacing other occupations at $66,440. Healthcare organizations now must compete against all organizations, not just other medical institutions or practices.
Benefits and More
Although competitive salaries remain a critical part of the hiring equation, healthcare employers are realizing that the benefits they offer can make the difference in attracting talent. The challenge is to devise an array of winning benefits that stay within budgetary limits in an era of shifting payment models in the healthcare industry.
The top benefits that prospective employees seek include medical and dental benefits, retirement savings accounts such as 401(k) plans, flexible scheduling, casual dress, and continuing education reimbursement and/or student loan assistance.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities often can provide high-quality, multi-tiered medical benefits at reasonable rates for their employees. The average cost of a family healthcare premium was $20,576 in 2019, an increase of 5 percent over the prior year.
Relief From Student Loan Debt
With many medical careers requiring extensive postgraduate training, most healthcare professionals carry considerable student loan debt. The website Student Loan Hero notes that 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt, and the average monthly loan payment is $393. Healthcare professionals also have ongoing continuing education requirements that must be met and financed. Employers can gain an advantage in a competitive market by offering a stipend for student loan assistance or continuing education.
Other Benefits Can Sweeten the Deal
Other benefits that can make the difference in a hiring situation include:
- Signing bonuses that give new employees an immediate pool of cash and demonstrate the organization’s desire to have a long-term working relationship
- A comprehensive wellness program that includes several ways to help employees manage stress and deal effectively with the pressure of their jobs
- Mentors who are assigned to help employees learn from more experienced staff and advance in their careers
- Collaborative staffing models that provide workers with greater control and flexibility to improve work-life balance
- Recognition in the form of awards and bonuses that acknowledge superior work and demonstrate appreciation
- Special perks such as in-house yoga classes, free prenatal care, free health screenings, nutrition counseling, free gym memberships, and pet care
Healthcare organizations can better understand the effectiveness of their benefit plans by surveying current employees on their preferences, usage, and needs. Conducting focus groups and internal surveys, as well as benchmarking the benefits offered by competitors, can help employers evaluate and refine their benefits packages to attract and retain talent.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.