Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 20, 2017

The Healthcare Skills Gap May Work to Your Advantage

There has been a developing gap between healthcare jobs available and healthcare professionals that have the appropriate qualifications to fill them. As a response, the healthcare field is changing, especially for nurses. With so many vacancies and little to no qualified talent to fill them, this dilemma is creating a more intense healthcare skills gap. Many Baby Boomer healthcare educators are nearing retirement age, leaving room for highly qualified instructors to fill these vacant roles within healthcare education programs. However, many factors are limiting healthcare facilities from finding the right individuals to fill these spots.

Individuals who are looking for a job in the healthcare industry should be aware of what circumstances are contributing to the skills gap. Knowing these stumbling blocks can help hopeful healthcare professionals and current healthcare employers navigate this skills gap and improve their chances of employment. The top five contributors to the gap are a lack of education, different expectations for pay, poor interviewing skills, above entry-level job requirements, and a lack of on-the-job training.

Lack of Education

Looking into furthering one’s education, is a way to better help job seekers and workers keep up with their careers in a world that is constantly changing and improving. Medical and technological solutions are always improving and changing and it’s important for job seekers to keep up with all these improvements within their industry. About thirty-five percent of employers have shown, and continue to show, concern for candidates with education gaps in certain areas. More specifically, twenty-two percent of employers said potential employees aren’t actually up to date with the new and shifting technologies in their field.

To stay current and informed on all the advancements crucial to their discipline, job seekers and current employees should study trade publications and continue to expound upon their education through various events such as seminars, lectures, academic journals and courses. To help their employees stay up to date, many employers are offering technical skills training within their organization. Current employees should take advantage of these trainings in order to stay relevant within their field.

Different Expectations for Pay

For those who are actively searching for a new job, pay is usually the main factor when deciding if a certain position and career path is right for them. About 37 percent of employers point to differing expectations for pay as one of the top contributors to the skills gap. However, an estimated 27 percent of hiring health care managers believe that their organization offers “extremely or very” competitive pay.

In order to overcome this hiring gap, job seekers should be aware of the industry’s standards for pay. They also should be aware of what wages are generally typical for their experience level and the overall size of the organization. By aligning your expectations for pay with the industry’s expectations, you can eliminate this hiring barrier within the healthcare skills gap.


Poor Interviewing Skills

There are times where a job seeker’s education and achievements are not enough to actually be hired. Interviewing skills are just as important in the hiring process as an individual’s credentials. Improving an individual’s interviewing skills is an easy fix that will prove to be an asset both when looking for a job and while on the job. It is just as useful when interacting with patients as it is with potential employers when an individual is able to clearly explain skills, processes, and procedures.

Above Entry-Level Job Requirements

Limited experience is often enough to deter employers from hiring a recent graduate. Thirty percent of employers have said that job requirements that are above entry-level are a source of hiring trouble. This issue affects both employers as well as education providers. Both entities need to ensure graduates are receiving the highest education that will aid in preparing them for roles more challenging than entry-level jobs. Educators can provide entry-level experiences while students are still in school, giving them a leg up on other candidates. Employers can provide training for current entry-level employees, preparing them to fill more prominent roles within the organization in the future. For graduates to overcome this setback, they should target employers that are more aligned with the curriculum and mission of the school they attended.

Lack of On-the-job Training

As mentioned above, further training of employees once hired can help alleviate the skills gap we are currently seeing in the healthcare industry. It is a responsibility for employers to offer additional training experiences and for employees to take advantage of these opportunities. After a worker completes the required and suggested education, the employer has the opportunity to deliver on-the-job experience needed for professional growth. On-the-job mentoring and development specializes the employee's experience and capabilities to compete for good pay and a good position. Employers should be aware of what possible job vacancies may arise in the years to come and train their current employees accordingly.

Several medical experts have predicted that the nursing shortage will continue until about the year 2020. In order to close this gap sooner, healthcare providers are offering incentives for new-hires and even offering help with tuition to provide students with a better education. With a growing need for qualified nurses and medical professionals, healthcare workers are receiving perks that were not offered to previous employees. Healthcare workers taking advantage of the gap through medical transcription courses and other online tools are experiencing higher pay, flexible schedules, and overall better working conditions. Closing this skills gap will take time and effort from both the employers and job seekers, but it doesn’t need to be a setback for the healthcare industry.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz
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