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Pressing the reset button on healthcare hiring in a tight labor market

January 27, 2023
4 min read

No one needed to tell the TA team at Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) that competition for healthcare workers — and nurses in particular — was fierce. The team at this multi-institutional healthcare system, with facilities in Illinois and Wisconsin, is facing the battle head on with creative solutions to attract a new generation of talent and engage current job seekers on their terms.

“We had to figure out how to set ourselves apart from our competitors,” said Katie Beveridge, HSHS TA system director, about the organization, which has nearly 2,300 physician partners and more than 13,000 colleagues.

The shrinking pool of healthcare talent is a trend that started long before 2020’s global pandemic but has picked up speed over the last few years.

The U.S. is on track to lose more than 6.5 million workers within the next five years, and only 1.9 million will take their positions. According to our iCIMS Insights data, healthcare job applications were down month-over-month at the end of last year. January showed an uptick, but the situation is still grim for those looking to fill healthcare roles in a hurry. On average, healthcare positions received 14 applicants per opening and took 42 days to fill — up two days from 2021.​

Across the industry, leaders are thinking out of the talent box to come up with new ways to stand out from the competition. Knowing that job seekers engaged most with video content, HSHS’s TA team implemented employee-generated videos on its updated career pages to share quick testimonials, which boosted career site visits and application completion rates. Chatbots help answer candidate questions quickly and at any time of day, which is essential for communicating with on-the-go workers.


Stay up to date with the latest hiring activity trends with iCIMS Insights January Workforce Report.


Burned out, understaffed and overworked

Graph from January 2023 showing healthcare job applications, job openings, and hires.

While staffing issues in healthcare are nothing new, many of the underlying causes — like workers feeling burned out, understaffed and overworked — have bubbled to the surface in this post-global-shutdown world. News feeds are full of stories about nurses going on strike in major cities or leaving the occupation in droves.

According to a recent report, 900,000 nurses are projected to leave the profession over the next five years. An aging nursing population, and the stress brought on during the pandemic, have exacerbated the exodus, with 66% of respondents in one survey saying they were considering leaving the profession due to COVID-19 experiences.

The situation is so extreme that the American Hospital Association sent a letter in March to the House Energy and Commerce Committee to call attention to the shortage, labeling it a “national emergency.”

In the meantime, healthcare people leaders need to keep roles filled in a super competitive hiring environment using proactive solutions like fast, on-the-fly communications to get candidates in the door.


Hope for Hiring in a tight market

Image of doctor working from the patient's point of view.

For recruiters at Infirmary Health, one of the largest employers in Alabama, staffing its network of five hospitals and several clinics requires about 1,400 workers each year.

Communicating by text with candidates helps the TA team reach candidates who don’t work typical 9-5 hours behind a desk. Recruiters can also text candidates interview reminders, follow up on screenings and send paperwork.

“Being able to meet them wherever they are has helped us be more timely and more successful,” said Ivy Singley, employment services manager for Infirmary Health.

Stay up to date with the latest activity trends with iCIMS Insights January Workforce Report, which includes what’s happening in hiring across industry sectors and provides a glimpse into job seeker behavior and sentiment.

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About the author

Amy Byrnes

Amy brings a knack for storytelling and strategy to her role at iCIMS. A longtime journalist and marketing consultant, she is on a mission to make her content sparkle with details and clarity.

As an essayist, Amy’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post and Family Circle magazine. When not writing, you can find her going for long hikes in the woods with her goldendoodle, working in her veggie garden or researching her next travel destination – which has included spots like Hong Kong, the Greek islands and Newfoundland.

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