Hiring in Healthcare
Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017
Americans hear a lot about manufacturing jobs, automation and outsourcing, but the less heralded set of changes in healthcare are just as profound. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare professions will add the most jobs of any occupation group from 2014 to 2024. Yet those new jobs will not necessarily resemble the healthcare jobs of the past: not only will the total level of healthcare employment rise, but also its composition will shift. The traditional role of healthcare as a modest but steady and predictable source of job growth is about to change.
For healthcare recruiters, these changes raise questions that are as clear as they are unsettling. Are these trends already evident? How does the tightness of the labor market as a whole affect this industry? This report reviews data from the BLS and iCIMS’ proprietary data to assess the current state of hiring in healthcare, with an eye out for those big changes on the horizon.
Amid the many transitions in the U.S. labor market in recent years, healthcare looks at first glance like a rock. Through the ups and downs of recessions over the last 25 years, healthcare has been one of the steadiest sources of job growth. As a share of nonfarm payrolls, healthcare has increased with each of the last three recessions, because this industry has continued growing even as other industries slimmed down in the lean years. Already, nationwide employment in the healthcare industry has risen by 16 percent since the Great Recession, compared to only 11 percent for total nonfarm payrolls. The BLS projects that healthcare-related occupations will grow between 10.5 percent and 23 percent from 2014-2024, compared to only 6.5 percent for all occupations.
This shouldn’t be too surprising: medical needs aren’t driven by economic trends. While that fundamental truth is not changing, just about everything else in the healthcare industry is, from the mix or services that patients require to the medical technology and business models employed to meet those needs.
To meet patients’ evolving needs in the most efficient way possible, many of the new positions will be for non-physician clinicians, such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physician assistants. The healthcare industry’s needs for non-clinical administrative jobs will also grow and shift, as hospitals and other service providers adapt to developments in insurance markets and federal and state government policy.
Aside from the ongoing advances in medical technology, there are two factors driving these changes in healthcare hiring: demographics and policy. The core driver of change in American healthcare is the aging of the U.S. population, which will lead to a sustained boom in healthcare employment. Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and are retiring an at estimated rate of about 10,000 per day. Also, the large millennial generation will likely leave their mark as they have in other domains, as they mature and begin consuming more healthcare.