Healthcare Recruiting Trends for 2016
By: John Rossheim
Healthcare will add the most jobs of any industry from 2014 to 2024, according to a fresh projection by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What will this mean for healthcare employers and their recruiters in 2016?
Whether they are looking to provide high-quality clinical care or to drive business success in industry, healthcare organizations will need to invest more time, effort, money and smarts into their healthcare recruitment efforts.
Here’s how some of the chief challenges and opportunities in healthcare recruiting will break out for the New Year.
Affordable Care Act boosts competition for candidates. With about 17 million people gaining coverage through the ACA so far, demand for the professionals who provide the full range of medical and allied health services is rising rapidly.
“Demand for physical therapy is rising,” says Doreen Stiskal, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Seton Hall University. “With the Affordable Care Act, more people have insurance to pay for needed services. And aging boomers are seeking PT services to remain active and optimize health.”
In rapidly expanding specialties, the talent supply lags. “Many providers are looking for experience, but they are not enough experienced practitioners out there to fill every opening,” says Anne Greb, director of Sarah Lawrence College’s graduate program in genetic counseling.
Genetic counselors provide patients and their families with information about genetic testing and risk to help them make decisions about medical care; insurers and genetic testing companies also seek these experts in human genetics.
Employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 41 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
New grads in hot specialties get grabbed quickly. “We graduated 28 or 29 DPT [doctor of physical therapy] students in 2015, and all who passed the licensing exam are now employed,” says Stiskal. “Many choose to work with institutions, the healthcare providers where they have done their internships.”
Internships enable providers to get close to fresh talent. Internships are the chief pipeline for new entrants to many health professions. “Some hospitals and nursing homes will email us job opportunities and we post them for students and alumni,” says Stiskal. “And at least half of our students get jobs where they or their classmates did a three-month rotation in clinical internship.”
New grads are looking for long-term career advancement. Today’s top talent considers advancement potential to be a key component of a job offer. “We advise students to ask prospective employers if they can go into treatment areas and talk to practitioners, what continuing-education benefits are available, and what residencies and fellowships exist for advanced practice in clinical specialties like geriatric or sports or orthopedic,” says Stiskal.
Providers innovate sourcing to reach busy professionals. Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City is using video interviewing software to provide a new entry point to the application process for busy healthcare workers. These busy workers often feel hard-pressed to scan thousands of job postings and fill out numerous forms.
Children’s Mercy expects to hire about 500 people for new positions and 500 more to handle turnover in its staff of 7,400, says Molly Weaver, director of talent acquisition.
Employers can up their game by targeting niche talent pools. As talent for competition heats up, so is targeted recruiting. “Our research shows that veteran candidates tend to perform better and stay in positions longer,” says Marcus Williams, military recruitment programs leader for Kaiser Permanente, the healthcare and insurance provider.
“So we decided to make their recruitment a priority.” Kaiser Permanente plans to recruit thousands of military veterans for its workforce of about 200,000 in 2016, according to Williams.
Niche media can efficiently reach key audiences. As with many IT specialists, healthcare professionals now expect recruiting employers to come to them, with a robust presence in social media and in their favorite occupational media.
“We’ve partnered with entities such as the magazine GI Jobs and other sites to source veteran candidates,” Williams says.
Cost pressures shift labor demand to outpatient settings. The ACA attempts to control costs in part by giving hospitals more incentives to discharge patients as soon as possible. Hip replacement patients who once spent four or five nights in a hospital might now stay just one night, says Stiskal. So demand for health services continues to shift to outpatient facilities in physical therapy and many other medical and allied health specialties.
Industry is a strong draw for medical talent. As if all these pressures on clinical recruiters weren’t enough, industry is hungry for many of the same pools of medical and allied health talent.
“Most people enter genetic counseling because they want to be in a helping profession and work with patients, so they’re looking for a clinical setting,” says Greb. “But there’s a growing subset that want to go straight to industry with companies such as Recombine, which offers genetic counselors over phone.”