No matter how the economic climate shifts, one thing remains certain — healthcare employees are always essential. Unfortunately, the overwhelming demand for professionals in this field is unmatched by the supply of available healthcare talent.
As a result, the United States will see a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Additionally, Mercer estimates the U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to care for its aging population adequately.
Broken down, that means our healthcare system will need approximately 446,300 home health aides, 95,000 nursing assistants, 98,700 medical and lab technologists and technicians, and 29,400 nurse practitioners.
With this predicted explosion in healthcare employment opportunities, every recruitment professional needs a targeted strategy to stop the talent gap from growing.
Follow these tips to develop a recruitment strategy worthy of taking on the healthcare employee shortage:
1. Assess shortage severity
Not all shortages are created equal. In the healthcare industry, changes occur at an unprecedented rate. New technologies and competitors in the space change healthcare systems constantly and the types of roles needed to manage demands change too.
Additionally, shortages vary drastically based on different factors. There are many positions, such as physicians, nurses, home health aides, technicians, and supporting staff. Additionally, there are variations in employment type: full-time, part-time, temporary, and per diem to consider.
Assess which employees are currently in high demand. Look at factors, such as department and employment type to determine who you need to target first. Once you understand the most critically-impacted specialties, list out shortages from highest to lowest priority.
2. Determine the cause
The healthcare employee shortage is a result of a textbook supply and demand issue. For instance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2034, there will be 77 million people over 65 years old. Conversely, the aging population will also affect physician supply, since the AAMC revealed that one-third of all currently-active doctors would also be older than 65 in the next decade.
Rising numbers of the older generations mixed with more doctors hitting retirement age are just a few of the reasons the shortage of healthcare employees exists. Some of the issues are directly related to the recruitment process.
Assess your process by considering these factors:
- When do the highest number of applicants exit the process?
- From sourcing to putting an offer on the table, how long is your recruitment process?
- How do you keep qualified candidates in your pipeline?
- Where do retention rates stand?
- Why do employees voluntarily leave your healthcare facility?
3. Project future needs
To develop an effective long-term recruitment strategy, you must focus on both present and future needs. Look at the number of projected retirees in addition to current openings.
Use these insights to project how many employees you may need to hire over the next couple of years. From there, work on local campus recruiting efforts. Create branding materials and outreach processes that enhance the flow of talent before they’re even in the job market via social media and on-campus networking.
Also, consider which roles would benefit from internships, mentorships, or apprenticeships. Each of these allows future hires to learn directly from employees and creates a meaningful connection to encourage future employment.
4. Repurpose talent
The growing employment gap in healthcare presents an immediate concern. Focusing solely on filling gaps with recent and future graduates won’t fully meet current talent needs. However, finding ways to repurpose talent for roles that do not require advanced degrees does address those need-to-fill-now openings.
Jason Narlock, a senior consultant with Mercer, suggests this innovation in addressing the healthcare labor imbalance.
“Look at an industry that has faced disruptions where there is an available labor pool that can be retrained to fill these positions,” he suggested to CNN Business.
Narlock continued, “In Ohio, for example, one healthcare system retrained workers who had lost manufacturing jobs to fill jobs as diagnostic technicians. These workers already had some skills that prepared them for this training.”
Uncover which roles are easy to train or with certifications that can be earned quickly. Then identify which industries or roles have employees that align with skills, traits, and experiences for these roles.
5. Update hiring and onboarding technology
Healthcare professionals are on the front lines with evolving, life-saving technology. They need proof a healthcare facility is developed as well. And their impression begins with the technology in your hiring and onboarding processes.
Update technology to keep up with the many demands of an employee shortage by adding tools to your recruitment strategy that quickly assess and enhance collaboration.
Video interviews, for example, give every person on your recruitment and hiring team instant access to candidates’ interviews. Your team can then review recorded interviews without the hassle of organizing impossible schedules.
Once they’ve reviewed an interview, decision-makers can leave comments and ratings for everyone to see. The more information you have, the quicker you can move candidates through the process. Enhancing the review process now means only the best-fitting candidates spend time with your team in those critical in-person interviews.
Video interviews also provide the hiring team and candidates the ability to complete the screening and live interview steps of your hiring process from anywhere through computers with a webcam.