Summer 2020: Medical Job Trends

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Healthcare careers have long been viewed as recession-proof, especially given the shortage of doctors and nurses graduating from medical school compared to the increase in both geriatric and general populations. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has proven to be an exception to many rules. We’ve seen a subset of positions impacted by furloughs and layoffs.

The news isn’t all bad.

Many positions are still in high demand, and signs in other regions of the country point to the healthcare industry being on the path to recovery ahead of many other sectors.

Medical Positions Still in High Demand

Registered nurses continue to be highly sought after, particularly those with emergency room, surgical, or ICU experience. Epidemiologists, pathologists, medical technologists, and other laboratory based positions are in inflated demand at the moment for obvious reasons.

We’re seeing an increase in the volume of department heads and executive directors retiring, and we’ve been busy sourcing candidates for these positions. It may be a coincidence, but we expect the stress of COVID-19 may have pushed up the retirement timeline for a few folks.

The increase in the geriatric population has translated into a steady demand for registered nurses in both assisted living facilities and in-home care, social workers, speech-language pathologists, and other geriatric care professionals. These healthcare professions have shown zero signs of a reduction in demand.

Administrative staff continues to be highly sought after across medical organizations including billing, scheduling, and information technology careers. Many people are leaving more severely impacted industries and seeking jobs in healthcare information technology, which is likely to be an excellent move if personnel have a background in data security.

Medical Jobs Impacted by COVID-19

As many people know, COVID-19 forced many hospitals to pause surgery, particularly elective or cosmetic surgeries. Ambulatory clinics were hit hard, and we’ve seen a surprising amount of anesthesiologists and medical specialists looking for employment. Although some people are still avoiding routine care appointments, many have returned to more normal patterns. The longer outbreaks continue, the more people seem to be returning to more normal routines, which is both a negative and a positive for the healthcare industry.

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Dental clinics are seeing many patients return to routine checkups, although the number is still lower than pre-COVID-19. This is likely due to the World Health Organization’s recommendation to delay everything but the most essential oral health services on August 3.

Positive Signs in the United States

Cosmetic surgery clinics have gotten creative throughout the United States and many markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia to name a few) are seeing a boom in procedures. COVID-19’s isolation has been positioned as the perfect time to get a little work done and recover without anyone noticing a thing. This isn’t a trend exclusive to the United States. Australia and the UK are attributing the surge to more face time over video chat.

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Many career websites are urging professionals in tourist, food services, and other service industries to consider switching over to administrative functions in healthcare. Provided skills translate and people are able to afford necessary training, this seems like a wise pivot from industries that will take much longer to recover.

While medical schools have expressed hope that the heroism shown by healthcare professionals throughout the epidemic will inspire younger generations to flock to medical careers, we’ll need to watch enrollment and graduation rates in the coming years to know whether the medical talent shortage will turn around any time soon. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, talented medical professionals can remain confident in their job security despite temporary COVID-19 impacts.

What’s Next?

Unfortunately, the isolation mandated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in reports of substance abuse, depression, and suicide. Mental healthcare professionals are in high demand, and we may see an increase in remote mental healthcare work to help cope with the demand in the short term. In the long term, mental healthcare professionals will continue to be in very high demand.

We aren’t certain of the long term ramifications of COVID-19, but might venture a guess that respiratory specialists, pulmonary technologists, nephrologists, and cardiologists will see increased demand in the coming years.

A positive that may come out of the COVID-19 crisis is an increased awareness of the burnout many healthcare practitioners face. We can hope this will create a stronger culture with a higher prioritization of self care, a reevaluation of staffing practices, and less stigma around mental health issues.

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We also see that many hospitals have had to amend hiring practices to emphasize a quicker turnaround time. This is a big positive for healthcare organizations wanting to secure talented candidates and the candidates themselves.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the market changes and helping our clients adapt to the new normal.

Stay healthy and take care.

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