Much like the global economy and the entire medical field, the healthcare workforce has been on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in recent years. We’ve seen it firsthand here at Medix. The ups, like the surging demand for talent and rising pay, also came with really tough downs, like burnout and widespread resignations.
The pandemic trauma and losses kicked off a mental health crisis that hit healthcare workers head on as they worked the frontlines of an unprecedented global tragedy. With all the ups and downs, are stable times ahead for those who work in the healthcare sector and the employers who rely on them? Based on what we are seeing on the front lines of care management, allied/clinical, revenue cycle, and insurance staffing, it’s a good time to build a career in the healthcare sector. It’s a more challenging time for employers who will need to rely on various talent sources and strategies to meet their talent needs.
The Trends We’re Seeing
Here are five healthcare workforce and market trends to watch from across the industry and from our new Workforce Trends Report: The State of the Post-Pandemic Workforce. Dive in for a taste of what’s ahead in healthcare work.
- Job Gains Outpacing Pre-Pandemic Gains: While it’s hard to remember the pre-pandemic job market, it’s not surprising that it was a healthy one for the healthcare industry. Job gains had not recovered to pre-pandemic numbers until this September when the BLS reported that “employment in health care rose by 60,000 and has returned to its February 2020 level,” as hospitals, ambulatory healthcare services and nursing and residential care facilities added jobs. New healthcare jobs accounted for more than a fifth of all jobs gained across the U.S. economy.
- Pay Rates Rising: According to the Medix Workforce Trends analysis, pay rates have been rising at a strong clip in recent years and saw one notable surge. To date, pay rates between 2021 and 2022 have risen by a sizable 10%. While large, this jump is not entirely unexpected due to historic, inflation-driven pressure on employers to increase wages. For employers, it’s a strong reminder of the ongoing competition for talent across the sector, even in contingent talent engagement.
- Healthcare Staffing Platforms Growing: The pandemic drove a meteoric rise of staffing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. SIA defines staffing platforms as “two-sided marketplaces that connect workers directly with clients and use an employer-of-record model.”
- With healthcare recruiters unable to meet the relentless demand for talent during the worst months of the pandemic, businesses turned to healthcare staffing platforms. According to SIA, the conversion to platforms was so rapid and widespread that healthcare staffing platforms grew by more than 317% in 2021 and now account for 22% of the healthcare staffing market.
- With the demand for talent still strong, even as the pandemic recedes, it’s unlikely these platforms will lose their roles and relevance. However, regaining strategy and cost control is a quickly rising priority for businesses and healthcare leaders as economic challenges persist. We are seeing the rapid-fire hiring from the deep pandemic era evolve into more strategic hiring as more healthcare employers focus on leveraging strategic workforce partners to better manage the ups and downs of the employment cycles.
- Staffing Time on Assignment Expanding: Medix anticipates time on assignment to grow steadily as the uncertainty of the pandemic years wanes, and the healthcare industry expands staffing usage to maintain growth and meet increased demand for flexibility among healthcare workers. In fact, the 14.2% gain in time on assignment from 2021 to 2022 is a healthy sign that more healthcare workers are finding the work and job flexibility they want and need after the incredible demands of the pandemic years.
- The Employment Journey Gains Momentum: Competition for healthcare talent and rising pay rates will allow plenty of healthcare workers to remain choosy about the opportunities they consider. Employers looking to connect and cultivate healthcare talent pools need to ensure they are building great journeys for all their talent, from full-time team members to the many contractors and support professionals who make up the workforce.
And that’s just a start of the opportunities and challenges ahead. For more insights on healthcare workforce trends, download the Medix Healthcare Workforce Trends Report or talk to a Medix expert who can help you build your plan for the road ahead.