Just a few short months ago, talent acquisition leaders were celebrating the New Year with articles and blog posts predicting industry trends and innovations we could expect to see unfold in 2020. However, few could have predicted the onset of an international pandemic and its resulting impact on communities, organizations, and industries across the globe.
In terms of recruitment and talent acquisition, the COVID-19 outbreak has had a particularly profound impact on the healthcare industry. Here’s a re-evaluated look at the current state of healthcare recruiting, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and predictions for what we can expect in the near future.
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Healthcare recruiting has been historically challenging as employers work to attract and retain talent in one of the fastest-growing sectors and the largest employer in the U.S. 2019 rounded out a decade of growth for the healthcare market with reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting healthcare to grow by 8.4 million jobs by 2028. The healthcare industry has long fueled the country’s economy, with it comprising an average of 12% of the U.S.’s workforce.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some of the healthcare recruiting trends we were seeing from 2019:
- Industry Growth - “From 2016 to 2026, employment opportunities in the healthcare industry are expected to grow by 18%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” (Yahoo Finance, April 2019)
- Culture Fit is Key - “Nearly 69% of Healthcare leaders said that the most sought after quality for job candidates is ‘cultural fit’. This quality beat out ‘previous experience’ and ‘technical competency’. (MGMA, April 2019)
- A New Doctor’s Market - “Newly graduated doctors are getting more job offers, getting paid more, and can practice wherever they want due to the recent bull market in healthcare employment. These physicians are also choosing more salaried positions with hospital chains and group practices.” (Fortune, May 2019)
- RN Talent Gap - “Job seeker interest in nursing roles meets about one-third of employer demand.” (Indeed, 2019)
- Employer Brand Matters - “97% of healthcare job seekers research a company during their apply process.” (Indeed, 2019)
2020 & forward: Healthcare Recruiting predictions due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed critical importance on healthcare, the likes of which the world likely hasn’t seen in more than 100 years, since the 1918 Influenza pandemic. It has already created the following challenges for healthcare employment, and will continue to shift the industry as events unfold.
Here are some predictions of what the healthcare recruiting and talent acquisition industry may see as a result of the COVID-19 impact:
- High Demand, Low Supply as the Talent Gap Widens - There is an increase in demand for healthcare workers and a decrease in supply, especially for nursing. Read more about how COVID-19 is affecting the nursing industry and actions you can take to retain, support, and attract nurses.
- Employer Brand Matters More Than Ever - In challenging times like COVID-19, the way employers treat their employees is showcased in a way like never before. If employees are treated well by their employer, the true and authentic company culture and employer brand shines in times of darkness. But if employees are not prioritized, it could be detrimental to an employer’s reputation--therefore making future recruitment challenging. Read more about managing your employer brand in difficult times, and how some companies are handling messaging to their employees and candidates.
- Virtualization of the Recruitment and Onboarding Process - With social distancing and shelter-in-place requirements, companies have had to quickly pivot and adapt to a new way to move candidates through the hiring process. This means more virtual interviews, virtual hiring events and career fairs, and generally accelerating the hiring and onboarding process. Read more about running virtual hiring events and virtual interview tips here.
- Legislation Changes to Expedite the Hiring of Healthcare Workers - Several states are modifying existing regulations to meet the current need to hire and onboard healthcare workers (RNs, Physicians, etc) at an accelerated pace.
- Finding Candidates in New Audiences - Organizations are reaching out to different healthcare professional groups, like medical students, dental professionals, retirees and the military to try to close the gap when it comes to the healthcare professional shortage. Organizations are also putting a greater emphasis on attracting travel nurses, particularly in rural areas where there are not enough nurses in-market to meet increasing demand. Some companies are even partnering with organizations that have furloughed employees to hire and onboard their recently displaced staff.
- A Renewed Focus on Healthcare Employees’ Well-Being - Employees who fall ill to COVID-19 place a greater strain on the industry as they have to be quarantined. The potential contagion also creates a stressful work environment as employees fear for their health and safety, especially as protective resources become limited. Read the CDC’s guidelines on how to protect healthcare employees.
- Training and Development to Improve - A nationwide survey conducted in early March 2020, stated that only 29% of hospitals had a plan for how to isolate potential COVID-19 patients, and only 44% had distributed information to their employees on how to recognize and handle the virus. New training and development plans will have to be implemented that focus on the pandemic.
When we combine 2019’s growing healthcare industry with 2020’s impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare employers will need all the help they can get to attract, support, and retain quality talent as we move forward in this “new normal.”
Questions on how to modify your healthcare recruiting and talent acquisition strategies based on these trends and predictions? We’re here to help! Visit our Healthcare Recruitment Hub or contact us for a free 30-minute consultation with one of our healthcare recruitment marketing experts - no strings attached.
Most importantly, stay safe and healthy!