The healthcare industry is in desperate need for qualified healthcare professionals over the next decade.
The industry is experiencing some rapid expansion with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Healthcare organizations are doing all they can to remain competitive in the job marketplace to identify and hire the best healthcare talent available.
We've outlined some of the key ways that the healthcare industry is changing and pinpointed some alarming statistics that both employers and healthcare professionals should be aware of in the coming decade.
Everyone knows that the healthcare industry is one of the largest industries in the country, but sometimes we can forget just how large it is. The healthcare industry makes up roughly 12% of the United States workforce, which makes it one of the largest employers. By 2026, it's projected to be the largest industry employer in any sector. The climb has been steady for quite some time for the healthcare industry with no signs of slowing down any time soon. The healthcare industry will steadily pass the Professional and Business Services, and the State and Local Government industries to become the largest employer by 2026.
As the baby boomer generation retires and eventually needs care in numbers never seen before, there will be massive demand for qualified healthcare professionals that can help push the industry forward and easily secure the top spot as the largest employer. This means that healthcare employers need to be prepared to increase their hiring capacity quickly to meet the rising demand. For students, job seekers, and healthcare professionals, working in the healthcare industry means having stable career prospects for the foreseeable future. Working in the largest industry means there will be plenty of chances to find job opportunities, and advance your career with ease.
For those job seekers who are looking for a new job opportunity where they have solid prospects of upward mobility, there are fewer industries better than or as competitive as the healthcare industry. With each new year as the baby boomer generation retires, new job opportunities will become available in upper management and the healthcare career ladder, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities for those entry-level healthcare professionals to identify potential career advancement and leadership opportunities. There will always be a large demand for healthcare professionals who not only have experience in this rapidly growing industry but for those professionals who are fantastic at teaching and educating the next wave of professionals who are needed.
Educating and teaching the next wave of healthcare professionals is part of the battle in meeting the demand for the future as the skills gap in the healthcare industry is larger than the rest of the economy. The faster new healthcare professionals can learn vital skills and the faster they can contribute to the soon to be largest employment sector.
We've highlighted how the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding. You might still be asking just how large that expansion might be. A few percentage points in terms of becoming the largest industry employer might not seem like much, but when you take the time to dive into those percentage points, they can equal some massive hiring increases. The BLS projects that the healthcare industry is currently projected to have 2.4 million new job openings by 2026.
With the massive increase and talent demand we've seen in plenty of healthcare professions, it wouldn't be shocking to see that number increase even more than initial projections. Across the board, nearly every healthcare profession is expected to grow over the next decade or more, and as more baby boomers retire and begin to seek long-term care, those numbers should increase significantly.
We've outlined just how large the healthcare talent gap will be in the future, but it might be a little difficult to understand in terms of the tremendous growth compared to other top performers. The healthcare industry is outpacing other industries, and this trendline shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Nearly every industry has up and down years or even decades. This is often due to the cyclical nature of the economy, various technological improvements, generation sizes, etc. The healthcare industry is different though, as we've seen massive growth in the industry over the last two decades and projections that indicate it won't slow down in the future.
The healthcare industry is outpacing other industries for a variety of reasons. The first reason that it is outpacing other common top performers is due to the common legislation back-and-forth. With the Affordable Care Act, healthcare providers are tasked with providing care to more individuals who have access to healthcare and decreased insurance premiums. Compound this with the aging baby boomer generation, and millions of Americans seemingly need care in levels never seen before overnight. Many Americans chose to avoid getting care when they were uninsured because the costs were too high. Nearly 44 million Americans didn't have access to healthcare insurance in 2013, and in 2016 it was down to 27 million. In a matter of three years, it decreased by 17 million new Americans who had the capacity to seek care additional care.
The baby boomer generation has roughly 74 million Americans within the age group that have already begun to retire or will retire soon. That means that at the bare minimum, roughly 91 million Americans will be added to the potential pool of patients who will need care.
In addition to the above, the healthcare industry is seeing rapid developments in technology and care expediency. This means that patients can be seen and treated quicker with a reduced cost. Going to a healthcare facility for care isn't as much of a hassle as it used to be. Patients are much more likely to go to a healthcare facility when they know that it won't take so long to receive care as it once did before, which means the number of patients who need care in one form or another increase steadily as well.
When you combine all of these things together, it's now wonder that the healthcare industry is steadily outpacing other top-performers, and healthcare organizations and facilities need to ensure that they are prepared to hire qualified talent to meet the growing demand.
One of the biggest hurdles that healthcare employers have to tackle is the experience requirement. Unfortunately, roughly 80% of all healthcare positions require two to five years of experience. Not only are employers struggling to find enough job seekers who can fill an increasing number of job openings, but they're also struggling to find qualified professionals who have years of experience under their belt.
Nearly every position in the healthcare industry is highly technical in nature, and for good reason too. Caring for others is a tall task with many responsibilities upon each professional in the industry. One slip up here or there, and healthcare organizations and professionals could face thousands of dollars in potential litigation. Healthcare employers and organizations don't have the time or resources to contend with thousands of dollars in litigation, so they need to fill positions with qualified professionals who can pick up where the organization left off. This means that their pool of potential candidates is limited even further, as they're forced to narrow down the list of candidates from the get-go.
This is why dozens of healthcare organizations are teaming up with colleges and universities to assist in the training and education of the next generation of caregivers. More than ever, healthcare organizations are donating sizable scholarship opportunities and incentives to educate the next generation of healthcare professionals, or incentivize them with additional employee benefits like paying off their student loans.
To assist with the experience requirement, healthcare employers are also willing to provide additional training opportunities and skill seminars where job seekers and employees can go to develop some of the skills necessary to work in the healthcare industry. This helps to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for potential healthcare employees to learn the skills necessary to easily integrate into the workforce upon being hired.
All of these new commitments are helping healthcare organizations identify and train new healthcare professionals, even with the experience requirement.
Across the board, healthcare positions claim some of the top salaries in every state. Another way that healthcare organizations are attempting to solve the talent gap and meet the rising demand in the future comes through compensation and employee benefits. As we mentioned earlier, most healthcare positions require a technical education that costs money and time to earn mdash; and healthcare organizations are more than willing to pay top dollar for that experience.
When compared to other positions with the same experience and education level, healthcare professionals on average earn significantly more money than their peers. In addition, healthcare organizations are more willing to provide top-notch benefits like additional time off, flex time opportunities, student loan assistance, skill seminars, and more. All of these things help healthcare organizations highlight the benefits of working in the industry and encourage qualified professionals to consider their organization.
Even though healthcare organizations are faced with massive demand in the future that they're struggling to keep up with, alarms are sounding on the homefront as industry turnover remains high. According to a study from Leaders For Today, roughly 62.7% of Registered Nurses indicated that they planned on leaving their position in the next five years.
This means that not only are healthcare organizations currently struggling to find qualified talent that will solve their current openings, they're also struggling to find quality candidates who are going to stick around for the long haul. To combat this, healthcare organizations are listening closely to their staff to find potential ways to reduce industry turnover ratios, but it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. This means that the healthcare talent deficit isn't going away anytime soon, and healthcare organizations need to ensure that they have a system in place to source candidates effectively as the industry continually faces new demand.
Hiring someone can take a long time. Fortunately for the healthcare industry, it's not the longest time to hire — but it's still one of the longest in any industry. The healthcare industry takes an average of 49 days to fill a position from the moment it becomes available to the moment the employee starts.
The longer a position remains open, the more a healthcare organization has to stretch their current staff or face a significant drop in revenue and productivity. The more that a healthcare organization stresses their current staff, the more they increase the likelihood that the healthcare professional will stress out and staff turnover increases. Because the healthcare industry is so technical in nature, a lot of extra work needs to go into evaluating and interviewing candidates to make sure they have the required skills, training, experience and education to fulfill their job responsibilities. This means that each organization has to conduct thorough background checks and follow up with references to confirm everything.
The longer a job posting remains open, the more a healthcare organization's revenue suffers and the longer a patient might go before receiving care. As one can see, the healthcare industry is currently in a balancing act that can be difficult to stay on top of.
Now that we've outlined some of the key healthcare hiring trends for the foreseeable future, we've also taken the time to list some of the growth projections for the top healthcare jobs in the industry. In addition, we've outlined all of this information in a helpful infographic that we encourage you to share, just make sure you credit us when doing so.