CENTENNIAL, Colo., Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The future of health insurance remains unclear, with discussions to repeal the Affordable Care Act and discontinue key ACA subsidies. In addition, the healthcare industry is bracing for the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act on Medicare Part B reimbursements beginning in 2019. Despite these uncertainties, healthcare organizations have continued to add employees in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and many healthcare professionals are receiving pay increases in this job-seeker's market, according to the Health eCareers 2017–2018 Salary Guide released today.
Health eCareers, the healthcare industry's online career hub, conducted its annual Healthcare Salary Survey involving nearly 20,000 healthcare professionals to uncover salary and employment trends in the healthcare industry. The most recent findings show that 87 percent of healthcare professionals are being paid more or the same as last year. In addition, 46 percent are very confident they can find a new position in their healthcare field, due in part to the growing demand for professionals to replace retiring baby boomers who are aging out of the workforce and the need to serve an increasing patient base.
Increased Turnover, Longer Time to Fill Positions and Increased Pay
According to Health eCareer's separate 2017 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Report, healthcare employers and recruiters are experiencing an increase in employee turnover, along with longer times to hire. Thirty-six percent reported that turnover at their organizations increased last year, and the time it takes to fill positions grew for 49 percent of respondents as well — mostly due to the difficulty of finding qualified professionals coupled with stagnant candidate interest. To woo potential hires, 64 percent of employers increased new-hire salaries.
As a result, 41 percent of healthcare workers surveyed reported their pay has increased over one year ago. The most common reasons cited for pay increases were "changed employers," "merit raise" and "mandated (company-wide) increases." Overall, physicians and surgeons report the highest average income at $258,039, followed by executives ($158,637), physician assistants ($108,311) and nurse practitioners ($102,523). Registered nurses, while only No. 11 on the list of healthcare earners, average $70,734 per year, a 5 percent increase over 2016's pay.
The majority (36%) of healthcare workers are "somewhat satisfied" with their salary, and only 14 percent are "very satisfied," despite increases for many occupations. Executives, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are most satisfied with their salary. Meanwhile, the occupations least satisfied with salary are technologists/technicians, counseling and social services professionals and nursing and clinical support staff.
Salary and Increased Work Load Among Biggest Career Concerns
Healthcare workers were asked about their biggest career concerns for the next year, and "lower or no salary increases" topped the list. Rounding out the top three concerns were "increased workload/patient load" and "staff morale."
Healthcare Employers Rely on Recruitment Tools and Temp Workers
In order to attract healthcare workers, employers are increasing their reliance on recruitment tools such as bonuses, flexible work hours and vacation. The most common reason professionals cited for considering changing employers was "higher compensation." As a result, employers found that competitive pay is a powerful weapon against turnover. Aside from salary, job seekers also place importance on company culture, flexible work hours and vacation/paid time off.
To meet demand, many healthcare organizations turn to temporary workers. Some healthcare professionals see temp positions (per diem, locum tenens and on-demand) as a way to supplement their core income or continue earning while between jobs. Eleven percent of respondents said they accept some sort of temporary work assignments. Most reported that they are paid an hourly rate (90 percent) versus a flat rate (10 percent) for the temporary work they take on, and they typically receive a higher rate for temp work versus full-time work.
Job Satisfaction Remains Steady
A majority (58 percent) of healthcare workers are happy or very happy with their current employment situation, a 1 percent increase over 2016. Although another 30 percent are actively looking for better opportunities, only 12 percent stated they are so unhappy that they want to change employers as soon as possible. The most commonly cited reasons for healthcare workers wanting to make a change were "higher compensation" (68 percent), "more rewarding or challenging work" (35 percent), "prefer a different boss or supervisor" (23 percent) and "better working hours" (21 percent).
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants remained some of the happiest healthcare employees, with more than a quarter reporting they are very happy and planning to stay with their current employer. Conversely, executives, physicians/surgeons, counseling and social service workers and healthcare IT professionals are the least happy healthcare employees.
About the Health eCareers Salary Guide
The Health eCareers 2017–2018 Salary Guide is a comprehensive resource on salary and employment trends in the healthcare industry. Responses were collected from a survey of 19,712 healthcare job seekers in the Health eCareers database between March 16, 2017 and June 8, 2017.
Learn more by downloading theHealth eCareers 2017–2018 Salary Guide and using the Healthcare Salary Calculator at healthecareers.com/salary.
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SOURCE Health eCareers