4 Healthcare Staffing Challenges That Should Scare Healthcare Recruiters

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Jul 12, 2021

recruiter challenges

The number of US healthcare jobs is expected to grow by nearly 840,000 positions by 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—far outpacing other industry classifications like computer science and education. The anticipated growth will be partly driven by the aging Baby Boomers’ healthcare needs.

Hiring for any industry in the face of this looming challenge will be difficult, but for healthcare recruiters there’s an additional layer of difficulty. Let’s look at four healthcare staffing challenges that recruiters are faced with today and into the near future.

Healthcare Talent Shortage

A primary healthcare recruitment challenge is an overall shortage of available talent to meet the rising demand. Some of the aging Boomer cohort will be retiring healthcare professionals–just as their own medical needs will be increasing. On top of that juxtaposition, the United States will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to keep up with population growth, according to one study.

In addition, according to a 2019 survey of healthcare executives, nearly 92% indicated that they were at least somewhat concerned about finding candidates with the right skill sets. Furthermore, 35% said that the talent shortage within the industry was one of their primary concerns. 

Rapid Hiring of Rising Stars

Compounding the talent shortage problem for recruiters is the pace with which fresh top talent is hired. It’s a recruit’s market when it comes to employment decisions, leaving medical facilities competing more aggressively for the best candidates. Healthcare organizations recognize three key benefits to hiring graduates fresh out of medical school:

  • They are cost effective
  • They are enthusiastic about their new career
  • Their training is up to date

These benefits combined with the lack of qualified talent mentioned earlier means that healthcare recruiting is an arms race. Making the issue even harder is the trend of new candidates typically preferring to accept positions with their healthcare internship providers.

Longer Average Fill Time

With the talent squeeze reducing the number of available candidates, healthcare organizations are taking an average of 230 days to fill a physician position, and 105 days to fill an APP position*. This long vacancy period (coupled with the healthcare talent availability issue) is likely to increase pressure on already overworked healthcare professionals, which could lead to lower job appeal, rising mental and physical health issues for providers, and lower worker retention rates.

Experience vs. Degree Quality

The degree vs. experience conundrum is an issue across any industry, but it’s especially tough for healthcare recruiters who understand that medical organizations cannot afford to onboard talent that doesn’t fit their specific needs. Plus, staffing needs must be filled quickly or individual and community health suffers. As a result, healthcare recruiters are faced with the following challenge related to filling positions with appropriate talent:

  • Should I recruit a healthcare professional who might have lower educational accreditation but plenty of experience?
  • Should I focus on finding a candidate with a better degree but less experience?

Organizations may require you to find one type of candidate or the other, but recruiters may not have the luxury of enough available qualified candidates to fill a position. This makes surfacing the right candidate challenging at best.

Although these issues will not be going away soon, successful recruiting still relies on reaching out to the best candidates. As part of your recruiting strategy, make sure you list job openings on myHealthTalent.com to reach both active and passive medical talent.


*2019 Annual Report, AAPPR In-House Physician and Provider Recruitment Benchmarking Report, Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment