We’re starting to see the signs of life in the economy. The jobs outlook is improving, ever so slightly, month over month. If the Great Recession taught us one thing, it’s that business is volatile. Things change fast in business today. Sometimes overnight. As such, we’re seeing that companies need more flexibility in their workforce than they needed before.
If we look at the staffing industry as an economic indicator, 2018 might be a good year for growth across the board. We’ve seen pretty stable growth in both healthcare and IT staffing in 2017, and there’s signs that those trends will continue into 2018. Technology changes, and businesses have learned that they must keep up with those changes if they want to remain competitive. On the healthcare side, we’ve seen many regulatory changes in the past few years, and this is having an impact on the work to be done to stay compliant with the changes.
In healthcare, we’ve seen HIPAA changes; HITECH and “meaningful use,” ICD-10 / ICD-11 and the Affordable Care Act all impact the delivery of healthcare. They all also impact the technology that is used to manage the process – from hospitals to physician offices to the insurance companies, each of these businesses has technology that must be updated, changed and in some cases replaced, to accommodate the changing regulations.
This has farther-reaching consequences as well. We’ve all heard about the “talent gap” and the lack of high- and middle-skills workers (read more about the Talent Gap here). Nowhere is this talent gap more evident than in healthcare and healthcare IT. As these companies open new projects and thus, jobs, they can have a difficult time attracting talent with the experience that they want. The longer the job sits open and unfilled, the more likely they are to relax their requirements related to direct experience. Rather than require someone with 5 years of healthcare IT experience, they’ll take someone who has the right skills, but may lack direct experience.
Candidates that don’t have direct healthcare experience are often excited to add healthcare experience to their resume and many will accept these contract positions as a way of growing their expertise. This reduces the number of people in the talent pool for businesses outside of the healthcare arena.
What can a business with project needs do? How can they compete with the salaries, experience and promise of even more lucrative work for these highly skilled and experienced professionals?
There are a variety of tactics that one can use, but at The Royale Strategy Group, we find that one thing works really well: project-based assignments. Generally, the healthcare IT world is filled with project- based assignments – 3, 6, 9 – even 18-month contracts are not uncommon. It can take time to move an IT professional from one contract to another, and as such, The Royale Strategy Group keeps them “on the bench.” While they’re on the bench, they might be performing work for The Royale Strategy Group internally, or, more likely, taking on additional short-term projects with clients outside of healthcare.
We’re certainly seeing signs of an improving economy on our end, in the number of open requisitions and new projects that we’re being asked to assist with. If this trend continues, it could become very difficult to find and hire the candidates that have the skills and experience to get the job done. In that case, don’t hesitate to outsource projects to a skilled business partner with the subject matter expertise to get the job done right – on time and on budget.
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Until Next Time…I GottaLottatoSay about just about everything….