New Study by Health eCareers Shows Most Healthcare Professionals Would Change Jobs for Better Pay

41 percent of survey respondents are dissatisfied with their current compensation

Jul 15, 2015, 09:07 ET from Health eCareers

DENVER, July 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With an increased demand for healthcare services being driven by everything from the Affordable Care Act to an aging baby boomer population, healthcare professionals are shouldering more responsibility than ever before. Yet, according to a national healthcare salary study released today by Health eCareers, the healthcare industry's online career hub, nearly half (45 percent) of healthcare professionals surveyed say they have not received a pay increase in the past year, and another 14 percent are actually making less than they were a year ago.

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What's more, healthcare professionals are feeling bullish about their job prospects, with 68 percent reporting they would change employers for higher pay.

The study of more than 28,000 healthcare professionals, including nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, surgeons and administrative personnel, also uncovers average salaries by position and other trends in healthcare compensation.

Average Salaries by Position
On average, physicians across the country are earning nearly a quarter of a million ($249,353) dollars a year, making it the highest-paid healthcare profession evaluated in the study. Healthcare executives rank second with an average reported salary of $154,573 a year, followed by physician assistants at $101,528, nurse practitioners at $95,531 and healthcare IT professionals at $89,247. On the lower end of the spectrum, allied health professionals report earning just $42,171 per year, and dieticians earn $51,813.

The area of specialty seems to influence pay as well. Family medicine nurses report earning $86,349 annually, while cardiology nurses earn $78,607 on average. Conversely, cardiology physicians earn a reported $359,044 on average, while family medicine physicians earn just half of that at $177,053 a year.

Interestingly, the survey found nonprofit employees tend to earn more than their for-profit counterparts in both hourly and salaried positions.

Healthcare professionals who are interested in calculating average salaries based on specific positions, location and experience levels can do so at Health eCareers' newly launched Salary Center.

Job Demands Increase, but Salaries Remain Stagnant
Despite being tasked with more work and heavier patient loads, most healthcare professionals say they aren't being rewarded with raises. More than half – 59 percent – report that their pay is the same or even lower than a year ago. And, of the small percentage that did report an increase, most say it was due to changing employers. The low instance of pay raises could be due, at least in part, to budgets being allocated to hire new employees to fill patient needs and to IT infrastructure upgrades needed to conform to legislative requirements.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners report the highest instances of pay increases, likely due to taking on more of the work typically done by physicians.

Experience + Pay Don't Add Up
More than 40 percent of healthcare workers report being dissatisfied with their current pay. Of those reporting dissatisfaction, the top reasons given are that their salary is lower than average for similar jobs in their region, their salary doesn't reflect their level of experience, they're not compensated for extra hours worked and their salary increases are too infrequent or too low.

Statistics may support the contention that pay is not necessarily commensurate with experience in healthcare. For many specialties, salary levels fluctuate despite increasing years of experience, with some newcomers earning more than their longer-term counterparts.

Employment Optimism High, Loyalty Low
Healthcare is a job seeker's market, and the survey shows that most workers would be quick to leave their current employer for a better offer. Because the number of healthcare job opportunities is skyrocketing, healthcare workers are optimistic about their ability to find new jobs. Of those surveyed, 86 percent say they're confident they could find a favorable new position in the next 12 months. What's more, more than one-third (34 percent) say they anticipate changing employers this year. 

The study results suggest that pay trumps loyalty among most healthcare professionals, with 68 percent reporting that they would change employers if it meant an increase in compensation.

What Motivates? Flexible Hours and Vacation Time
With a new generation of workers entering the healthcare industry, factors beyond salary, such as work/life balance, are becoming increasingly important to attract and retain employees. Only 60 percent of those surveyed, however, say their current employer offers other motivating factors beyond compensation. Of those who do receive additional benefits, the top ones cited were flexible hours, vacation and other paid time off, training and certification courses, and more interesting or challenging assignments.

2015 Concerns
Healthcare professionals have a number of concerns about their jobs and the industry as a whole in 2015, with worries about pay increases topping the list.

  • 42 percent of respondents are concerned they will see little-to-no increase in pay
  • 33 percent say they are concerned about increased workloads/patient loads
  • 22 percent are worried about staff morale
  • 21 percent say they are concerned about finding an appropriate new position for their skill set

To learn more, download Health eCareers' 2015 Healthcare Salary Guide and try out the new Healthcare Salary Calculator at salary.healthecareers.com.

About the Survey
The Health eCareers 2015 Salary Guide is a comprehensive resource on compensation and employment trends in the healthcare industry. Responses were collected in January and February 2015 via an online survey of 28,399 healthcare professionals from the Health eCareers database. Represented occupations included nurses (18 percent), administrative/operations (12 percent), physicians and surgeons (10 percent), allied health professionals (8 percent), nurse practitioners (7 percent) and a mix of other healthcare positions. Seventy-seven percent of respondents currently work full time, 8 percent work part time, 5 percent work per diem or on contract, and 2 percent work irregular hours or are on call. The remaining respondents (8 percent) are currently unemployed or retired.

Compensation findings were based on two measures: base salary and hourly wage. Those with base salaries below $1,000 or greater than $350,000 (or $750,000 for physicians and healthcare executives), or with hourly wages below $8 or above $500, were excluded from the survey. In some sections, base salary and hourly wage data are combined to reach an estimated annualized base salary for the population. Average salary numbers reflect base salary plus overtime pay.

About Health eCareers
Healthcare is all about connection, and Health eCareers is the healthcare industry's career hub for professionals, employers and associations. With a network of more than 1.7 million job seekers, thousands of healthcare employers and more than 100 exclusive association partners, Health eCareers is designed to match qualified healthcare professionals – from physicians to non-clinical staff – with medical providers looking for top talent. And with the addition of SHIFT, Health eCareers has also become the destination to find temporary healthcare work. But Health eCareers is more than just a place to look for your next job — it's a resource to help you advance your career at every stage. That's why Health eCareers also includes industry news and career advice targeted to your healthcare specialty. For employers, Health eCareers offers innovative recruiting tools and services and healthcare hiring data that you won't find anywhere else. To learn more, visit healthecareers.com, check out our news and advice page or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Media Contact
Jill Petersen 
GroundFloor Media for Health eCareers  
jpetersen@groundfloormedia.com  
M: 206-683-5225

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SOURCE Health eCareers



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