The health care industry continues to experience rapid changes and growth, with an increased demand for quality care, innovative technologies, and skilled professionals. With the ongoing pandemic, the health care sector has become one of the most crucial and essential sectors in the United States. As such, hiring expectations for 2023 remain high, with experts predicting increased hiring rates and continued growth for the industry.
Recent data and trends in health care hiring from the end of 2022 and into the start of 2023 indicate that the health care industry is continuing to grow and evolve, with new job opportunities emerging for both entry-level and experienced professionals. Here are some of the most significant trends and data points that experts are watching:
Continued growth in the health care industry
The health care industry has been growing at a steady pace for the past several years, and that trend is expected to continue into 2023. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the health care industry added 31,300 jobs in December 2022 alone, bringing the total number of jobs in the industry to 16.8 million. This growth is expected to continue in 2023, with the BLS predicting that health care employment will increase by 15% from 2019 to 2029, adding 2.4 million new jobs.
High demand for skilled professionals
As the health care industry continues to grow, the demand for skilled professionals is also increasing. In particular, there is a high demand for nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals, as well as health care administrators and IT professionals who can support the industry's technological advancements. This demand is driven by factors such as an aging population, an increase in chronic diseases, and a focus on preventive care.
A shift toward virtual care
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual care, with many health care providers now offering tele-health services. This shift toward virtual care is expected to continue into 2023, with experts predicting that the tele-health market will reach $307 billion by 2026. This shift is also creating new job opportunities for IT professionals, who are needed to develop and maintain the technology that makes virtual care possible.
Increased focus on mental health
The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health, with many people experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. As a result, there is an increased focus on mental health in the health care industry, with many providers expanding their services to include mental health care. This shift is creating new job opportunities for mental health professionals, such as therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists.
The role of data analytics
Data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in the health care industry, with providers using data to identify trends, improve patient outcomes, and reduce costs. This trend is expected to continue into 2023, with experts predicting that data analytics will be one of the most important skills for health care professionals. As such, there is a high demand for data analysts, data scientists, and other IT professionals who can help providers make sense of the vast amounts of data that the industry generates.
Increased competition for talent
As the demand for health care professionals continues to increase, there is also increased competition for talent. Many employers are struggling to find qualified candidates for open positions, and are having to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract top talent. This competition is particularly fierce in certain areas, such as nursing and IT.
Despite the increase in health care employment in the United States, there is still a significant shortage of health care workers, particularly in certain areas and specialties such as nursing, mental health, and primary care. This shortage of health care workers is a cause for concern as it affects the quality of care that patients receive and the overall health outcomes of the population.
The shortage of health care workers is a complex issue that is influenced by a range of factors, including demographic changes, job characteristics, and education and training requirements. One significant factor is the aging of the population, which has led to an increased demand for health care services. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of health care workers in society, which has increased public awareness of the shortage of health care workers and the need to address it.
One area that is particularly affected by the shortage of health care workers is nursing. The demand for nurses has been increasing for many years, and the shortage is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. According to the American Nurses Association, the United States will need an additional 1.1 million nurses by 2022 to meet the demand for nursing services. This shortage is attributed to several factors, including an aging nursing workforce, high turnover rates, and limited educational opportunities for aspiring nurses.
Another area that is experiencing a shortage of health care workers is mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness each year, yet there is a significant shortage of mental health professionals to provide treatment and support. The shortage of mental health professionals is attributed to a range of factors, including stigma associated with mental illness, inadequate funding for mental health services, and limited training and education opportunities for mental health professionals.
In addition to nursing and mental health, there is also a shortage of primary care physicians in the United States. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will need an additional 55,200 primary care physicians by 2032 to meet the demand for primary care services. The shortage of primary care physicians is attributed to several factors, including an aging physician workforce, a limited number of residency positions for primary care physicians, and the increasing complexity of the primary care practice.
To address the shortage of health care workers, a range of strategies are being implemented at the local, state, and federal levels. One approach is to increase funding for education and training programs for health care workers, particularly in the areas and specialties experiencing the greatest shortage. This can involve increasing funding for nursing programs, mental health training programs, and primary care residencies.
Another approach is to improve working conditions and job satisfaction for health care workers. This can involve implementing policies that support work-life balance, reduce burnout, and provide greater job security and opportunities for career advancement.
Finally, there is a need to address the root causes of the shortage of health care workers. This involves addressing factors such as inadequate pay and benefits, limited career advancement opportunities, and high levels of stress and burnout. By addressing these factors, it may be possible to attract more people to the health care profession and improve the overall quality of care provided to patients.
Giridhar Akkineni, CEO of AkkenCloud, a staffing and recruiting software company, offered his perspective on the current state of health care hiring:
"The demand for health care workers is still high, but the supply remains limited. Health care organizations need to be strategic in their recruiting efforts and offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract top talent. In addition, technology can play a significant role in streamlining the hiring process and identifying qualified candidates quickly."
Other experts in the health care and staffing industries also shared their insights:
Sue Higgins, Chief Human Resources Officer at a large health system, stated, "We're seeing an increase in candidates seeking remote and flexible work arrangements. Health care organizations need to be open to these arrangements to attract and retain talent."
Jared Weisenberger, CEO of a healthcare staffing company, said, "The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health care, and we're seeing a growing demand for mental health professionals. Health care organizations need to invest in mental health services and make sure they have the staff to support those services."
Another expert in the healthcare staffing industry, Scott Beck, CEO of CHG Healthcare, notes that the pandemic has accelerated the need for healthcare organizations to innovate and become more agile in their staffing strategies. He says, "Healthcare organizations are looking for more flexible staffing solutions that can adapt to their changing needs. As such, we have seen an increase in demand for locum tenens and travel nurses, as well as other temporary staffing solutions."
The demand for travel nurses has increased due to the pandemic, as healthcare organizations have needed to quickly fill staffing gaps caused by high COVID-19 patient volumes. The demand for temporary staffing solutions is also reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which projects a growth rate of 17% for temporary help services in the healthcare industry between 2019 and 2029.
Another trend that is expected to impact healthcare hiring in 2023 is the ongoing nursing shortage. According to the American Nurses Association, there will be a shortage of over 1 million registered nurses by 2030. The pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, as many nurses have left the profession due to burnout and stress.
Overall, the experts agree that health care hiring in 2023 will continue to be challenging, but there are opportunities for organizations to attract and retain top talent by offering competitive salaries, benefits, and flexible work arrangements. By leveraging technology and investing in high-demand specialties, health care organizations can navigate the current hiring landscape and build strong, resilient teams to support the health and well-being of their patients.