Healthcare Professionals Are Hard to Find in Hot Labor Market

(Bloomberg) -- America’s largest employer is having a hard time filling jobs.

The skills gap in the health care sector, now the largest U.S. industry, is greater than the gap in the overall economy, according to a report published Wednesday by Indeed economists Martha Gimbel and Tara Sinclair.

The economists studied job postings and resumes on Indeed, an employment-related search engine, between January 2014 and December 2018 and found a mismatch between employers who were looking to hire and the skills offered in candidate resumes. This suggests healthcare faces a greater hiring challenge than other sectors.

One reason for the skills gap is the lengthy training and licensing that healthcare occupations require. And there are limited number of medical and nursing schools where people can go to receive the required training, according to co-author Tara Sinclair.

"There just aren’t enough places and schools to get trained for how many people we need in those roles," Sinclair said.

Job titles with elevated employer demand include registered nurse, physical therapist and occupation therapist. Health jobs with more seekers than demand include caregiver, medical assistant and dental assistant, where the skill set and training required is lower, Sinclair said.


More Job Seeker Demand

More Employer Demand

1nursing assistantregistered nurse
2caregiverphysical therapist
3medical assistantspeech language pathologist
4home health aideregistered nurse-operating room
5dental assistantoccupational therapist

The U.S. healthcare system leans in some part on foreign-born medical graduates. International medical graduates make up about a quarter of the total medical training pool and active physician workforce, according to a 2018 study by the Journal of Graduate Medical Education.

An aging population and increase in wealth has contributed to higher demand for healthcare services. As the industry grows, the skills gap in healthcare may have a greater impact on the economy, according to the report. One solution to close the gap would be for employers to invest more in training, while not reducing the regulations designed to protect patients.

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