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February 26, 2018

The 5 'Toughest Jobs to Fill' in health care, according to CareerCast. Here's our take.

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    Read Advisory Board's take.

    Half of the 10 "Toughest Jobs to Fill in 2018" are in health care, according to a report from CareerCast.

    For the report, researchers looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts, data from trade and professional associations, graduation rates, and's job listings database.

    Key findings

    According to CareerCast, application and software developer is the No. 1 hardest job to fill this year.

    The health care professions among the 10 hardest jobs to fill include:

    • Home health aide (No. 4), which has a median annual salary of $22,600;
    • Medical services manager (No. 6), which has a median annual salary of $96,540;
    • Nurse practitioner (No. 7), which has a median annual salary of $107,460;
    • Personal care aide (No. 8), which has a median annual salary of $21,920; and
    • Physical therapist (No. 9), which has a median annual salary of $84,020.

    CareerCast cited high demand as a reason why the health care jobs are among the hardest to fill this year. For example, the report noted the aging baby boomer generation is driving demand for home health and personal care aide positions. CareerCast projects home health aide and personal care aide jobs will grow 47% and 39%, respectively, over the next eight years. That represents about 500,000 new home health aide jobs and about 750,000 new personal care aide jobs, according to CareerCast.

    In addition, CareerCast said nurse practitioners and physical therapists are among the most in-demand fields, with growth outlooks of 31% and 34%, respectively.

    CareerCast projects 20% growth for medical services manager jobs (Knowles, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/19; CareerCast report, accessed 2/20; Williams, Columbus Dispatch, 2/16; Nova, CNBC, 2/15).

    Advisory Board's take

    By Kate Vonderhaar and Micha'le Simmons, HR Advancement Center

    Why are half of the 10 "Toughest Jobs to Fill in 2018" in health care? A big reason is that so much health care delivery is shifting to outpatient settings, and today's health systems just aren't set up to recruit the right candidates for these roles.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while hospital employment will grow by 6.4% in the next decade, employment in physician offices and nursing facilities will grow by more than 20%, and home health employment will grow by an astonishing 60%. As such, health systems will have to ramp up their recruitment efforts for medical assistants, home health aides, and nursing assistants.

    You're probably used to having to make outsized investments to recruit nurses—and to be sure, hiring nurses will remain tough. But moving forward, you'll also need to reconsider how you hire for entry-level health roles, which tend to offer lower salaries and require less formal training and education.

    In particular, you'll need to look beyond traditional recruiting channels and source candidates from a broader range of backgrounds. This can include changing your view on who's qualified for these roles. Consider partnering with a community agency to provide job assistance, revising minimum qualifications so that qualified high school graduates can apply, and reconsidering what should disqualify a candidate.

    In addition, because the demand to fill entry-level roles is so high, you'll need to make these jobs more attractive to candidates. One approach is to create career ladders that provide entry-level staff an opportunity to expand their skills and advance their careers over time.

    To explore our best practices for building tomorrow's entry-level workforce, download our recent study Paving Health Career Pathways to the Middle Class.

    Download the Report

    Want more information on recruitment and retention in health care? Check out these resources:

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