Healthcare Talent Shortages

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

The United States is facing a massive talent shortage. In every industry, good help is hard to find. But nowhere is the problem more critical than in healthcare.

For the last 18 years in a row, two greatest challenges for healthcare CEOs have been rising costs and talent recruitment and retention. In rural areas, the issue of talent recruitment and retention has reached a crisis point. The problem is enormous, and it is only going to get worse, a lot worse. For the first time in history, job openings are exceeding qualified job applicants. Talent shortages are an issue that will not eventually go away. Moreover, talent shortages will continue until at least 2035, which is as far out as the projections go, they will, in all likelihood, last longer.

By 2025 the U.S. will be short 500,000 nurses, let that sink in for a moment, and think of it… a half-a-million short. Moreover, we’ve got some serious challenges when it comes to training new nurses. Every year, over 70,000 nursing school applications are rejected because we don’t have the professors, the classroom space, or the clinical space to train them.

Three Reasons Why We Have a Talent Shortage

1. We’ve got an aging population that’s living longer and developing chronic illness. Additionally, the aging population is growing fast, as ten-thousand people a day turn age 65. Our seniors are also an active group that relies on modern medicine to keep them going.

2. Women make up most of the nursing workforce, and today women have a lot more career choices than they did in the past.

3. Hospital staffing shortages are causing nurses to be overworked, stressed, and burnt out. As a result, many have left the profession. Presently, there are about 500,000 licensed nurses who are not in the nursing workforce.

The question is how to incentivize this group of nurses to return to the workforce. The average age of this group of nurses is 49 years – it’s the age when most people become seriously concerned about ever being able to retire.

Healthcare organizations looking to attract experienced nurses should focus their attention on the long-term desires of this group of professional nurses. A benefits package that includes a lifetime retirement income would be a substantial incentive. To retain these nurses long-term, the employer attaches a long-term vesting period to the benefit. It’s a win-win for both parties. The employee gets a lifetime of financial security, while the employer saves money on enormous turnover costs and expenses associated with understaffing.

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