Healthcare Employment Outlook Promising For Some, Not Others

May 18, 2012
Aubrey Westgate

HealtheCareers Network recently released its analysis of the healthcare employment market based on industry job openings posted in the first quarter of 2012.

The good news is that if you’re a physician or health technology professional looking for a job, it should be easy to find. The bad news is that if you’re looking to hire one of these individuals, you’re in for a challenge - and it’s likely going to get harder.

HealtheCareers Network recently released its analysis of the healthcare employment market based on industry job openings posted in the first quarter of 2012.

For physicians in general, more job openings were available than applicants to fill them. The specialties with the highest job posting rates included family medicine, emergency medicine, and internal medicine physicians.

That’s likely a reflection of health reform initiatives, Mike Tansey, CEO of HealtheCareers told Physicians Practice via e-mail.

“We believe that primary-care providers and healthcare systems are preparing for an additional shortage brought on by the pending healthcare reform,” he said. “Depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision on the individual mandate, an additional 30 million people could be covered by health insurance, thus increasing the need for practitioners.”

It’s also likely attributable to health reform’s encouragement of new models of care, like accountable care organizations, in which health systems will be reimbursed for services based on quality of care and cost of care provided, rather than traditional fee-for-service.

To experience financial success in such models, health systems will need rely more heavily on primary-care physicians to keep costs down by keeping patients healthy, reducing admissions and readmissions, and controlling chronic diseases.

Of course, those individuals on the recruiting side of things at healthcare systems will experience increased competition when attempting to lure in new primary-care physicians. The fact that up-and-coming physicians tend to lean more toward more lucrative specialties over primary care only exacerbates such problems.

This is supported by the analysis finding that more and more nurse practitioners and physician assistant openings are occurring in primary care. Health systems may be attempting to supplement and/or enhance their primary-care services with these healthcare providers.

With nurse practitioners, Tansey noted, 19 percent of all available openings were in family medicine.
Of course, as technology plays a larger role in healthcare, that’s also reflected in hiring trends. The analysis found that there was an increase in job postings for healthcare technology professionals, especially in certain areas. For instance, it found that 16.5 percent of such jobs are located in Texas; 13.8 percent in Tennessee; and 11.9 percent in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania and Texas are two of the top five states in terms of hospital bed numbers, which could partially explain the high number of openings, said Tansey. In addition, Tennessee is home to the Hospital Corporation of America, the operator of more than 270 healthcare facilities nationwide.

While the hiring outlook is positive for both physicians and health IT folks, it’s less encouraging for healthcare executives, marketing professionals, and administrative job seekers. The analysis found that more applicants existed for these positions than openings.

What hiring issues are you experiencing in your state? Are you struggling to find some healthcare professionals and flooded with resumes from others?