Recruiting healthcare workers poses many challenges – not least a global labor shortage. It’s a situation that’s already placing pressure on healthcare facilities, not to mention recruiters in the healthcare sector.
The demand for highly skilled healthcare professionals is intensifying, given the fact people as a whole are living longer. It’s estimated that people over the age of 55 account for more than half of healthcare spending. This makes sense given how The National Council on Ageing says that 95% of people over 60 have at least one chronic health condition. All in all, although medicine continues to evolve and find incredible new treatments for common conditions, the demand for quality healthcare continues to grow.
Despite issues such as high turnover and burnout, dedicated and talented professionals strive to deliver the best possible care for people and their loved ones. Fortunately, by implementing the latest recruitment methods, agencies and employers can continue to find committed and talented people to step into the breach. This article will summarize some of the unique recruitment challenges in healthcare, and how they can be overcome.
What are the Main Challenges of Healthcare Recruitment?
A career in healthcare can take real endurance, but even those with the greatest staying power may be getting ready to step down. That’s because the healthcare worker population is keeping pace with demographic trends.
The American Association of Medical Colleges points out that a growing number of healthcare workers form part of the over-65 population. It’s an age group that’s expected to represent a staggering 48% of people living in the US by 2032. With their retirement age drawing near, there are concerns as to how the healthcare sector will be able to fill the gaps older people will leave as they exit the workforce.
Then there’s the lasting effect of COVID-19. Its aftermath is still being felt as a contributor towards the scarcity of healthcare professionals. Burnout figures were high, especially among inpatient staff, and the Harvard Gazette reports that over 28% of staff planned career changes at the time. Even if only a few of them followed through with their intention to leave the sector after COVID-19, that’s a lot of talent lost.
The bottom line? A large number of people are retiring or leaving healthcare professions, and we must look to a new generation of talent to replace them – but there are problems here, too.
With younger candidates representing a shrinking percentage of the overall population, the fact that only 20% of US students pursue a STEM degree presents a real problem. Moreover, among the few who qualify for medical school in the US, more than half of students said that they were planning careers that did not involve treating patients. At the same time, one in four medical students consider a complete change of career direction before completing their qualifications. With demand growing, few graduating, and even fewer being interested in hands-on healthcare, the shortage of personnel in the healthcare sector should come as no surprise.
The problem has already begun to assume immediacy. A PwC survey found that 67% of healthcare sector CEOs in the US expect a shortage of skilled workers to impact their profitability during the next decade. And, apart from a lack of traditionally qualified healthcare workers, the need for new skills in healthcare contributes to the challenges faced by recruiters, thus compounding the problem of skills shortages.
Technological Advances That Few Can Implement
Advances in medical science imply a growing need for specialized personnel who have the skills necessary to implement the latest technologies. There are concerns about the number of healthcare workers who have the training needed to take advantage of new technologies such as AI, telemedicine, and wearable monitoring devices. These technologies could reduce pressure on healthcare facilities and their staff in numerous ways. For instance, they can allow for early discharge programs in which patients are monitored in the home setting. For this reason, recruiters should be vying for the attention of tech-savvy candidates to put innovative new healthcare solutions into daily practice.
Trends in the Healthcare Recruitment Industry
The race for talent is on, and professional recruiters are playing to win. The evidence for this lies in current healthcare recruitment trends. These include:
- A focus on AI and automation: Automated advertising allows for targeted job posting based on relevant criteria while still broadening reach. These technologies enhance recruiters’ ability to attract the right talent from a wider pool of applicants. Automated applicant screening and AI chatbots further simplify the hiring process, helping recruiters find the right people faster.
- Digital verification: Applicant screening in healthcare requires careful verification of qualifications and certifications. What was previously a time-consuming task is now simplified thanks to digital verification processes, allowing recruiters to save resources by focusing on qualified, pre-verified candidates.
- Candidate experience: A positive candidate experience is vital in recruitment, and the healthcare sector is no exception. Real-time feedback and updates on application progress, remote interviewing and automated reference collection can streamline the process. This means candidates can remain up-to-date and informed, curbing drop-off rates.
- International hiring: Sourcing qualified medical staff from other countries is nothing new, but it requires attention to detail in terms of regulations. In America only Canada and the US co-accredit qualifications – but applicants from other countries can still land healthcare jobs in the US if they have completed USMLE examinations. Already, up to one in four healthcare workers in the US were born in other countries, and it’s a figure that’s likely to rise.
Tips for Recruiting Healthcare Professionals
Make Sure Your Outreach is Targeted
Achieving wide reach and targeting a very specific audience needn’t be mutually exclusive. Recruiters can build a network of qualified candidates who can be approached when suitable opportunities arise. In addition, it’s possible to target job ads to specific publications and job boards – especially with the help of automation.
Use a Skills-Based Approach
Although qualifications and experience will always be important in healthcare recruitment, skills matter too. A skills-based approach looks at potential rather than qualifications and allows recruiters to consider candidates who are interested in career development towards a more advanced role.
For example, a home caregiver may have all the soft skills required to become a nursing professional. With the right career path planned, they can work toward a career in nursing and may be more likely to remain with an organization that provides opportunities for advancement. With healthcare organizations recognizing the current healthcare worker shortage and expecting it to worsen, a skills-based approach helps them spot candidates who are receptive to training and eager to build exciting and enriching careers.
Invest in Technology to Identify The Most Talented Candidates
Technology allows recruiters to expand their reach, but that can pose challenges when it comes to identifying the most qualified candidates from a large pool of applicants. The right technology provides end-to-end solutions, and in the recruitment context, it should help recruiters attract higher numbers of qualified applicants and also allow for effective applicant screening.
Tailor Your Benefits to the Needs of Healthcare Professionals
On the surface, healthcare workers may seem to want similar benefits as everyone else in the workforce. For example, competitive salaries, reasonable working hours, opportunities for advancement, paid time off, and insurance are universally appreciated. However, healthcare workers have additional needs, and fulfilling them means a better chance of attracting and retaining top healthcare talent.
For example, the Harvard Business Review points out that the quality of care for patients affects healthcare workers’ job satisfaction. Secondly, and possibly as importantly, healthcare workers want to feel that their skills are being utilized effectively and that the organizational culture is inclusive and supportive. These factors depend on the organization and how it is run, and although they aren’t generally regarded as “employee benefits,” organizations that can demonstrate their commitment to these qualitative criteria may attract and retain talent more effectively than those who don’t.
Getting Started with Broadbean
Leveraging technology for talent acquisition in the competitive healthcare landscape may seem easier said than done. After all, integrating various tools to serve a common goal can be extremely complex. But, with Broadbean and its partners, executing your healthcare recruitment strategy becomes simple.
From meeting the needs of in-house HR departments to helping recruitment agencies find the right candidates for their clients, our suite of tools simplifies and enhances the recruitment process. Contact Broadbean today to learn about how we can help you attract and acquire top talent.