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October 22, 2019 11:07 AM

The Global Shortage of Healthcare Talent and What You Can Do About It

It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of qualified talent in the healthcare industry. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there will be a shortfall of about 18 million healthcare workers across the globe by 2030. And that’s before we even take into account the fact that an aging global population and a longer average lifespan means that by the same year, there will be a global demand for 40 million new health workers.

Those projected figures only hint at the challenges to come in healthcare recruitment in the coming decade, but what about right now?

In the US alone, a staggering 5 out of 10 vacant roles are now in the healthcare industry with the gap between job vacancies and job hires widening at an alarming rate. In fact, the healthcare industry is now the largest employer in the United States, surpassing the retail and industrial sectors in the last year.

In Europe, the figures are a little less frightening, but there’s still a clear shortage of qualified talent across the board. This is particularly true in the United Kingdom where Brexit has had a detrimental effect on the recruitment of EU and even non-EU healthcare professionals.

With the global shortage of qualified healthcare talent continuing to gather pace, it’s little wonder that recruiters in healthcare find it increasingly difficult to attract the right people to their vacant roles.

So what can we do about it?


Finding those elusive qualified candidates

Target medical professionals earlier in their career

And by earlier, we mean during their training. Of course, we’re by no means suggesting that you send your recruiters to sit at the back of the lecture hall or hand out business cards in the university canteen. What we’re actually suggesting is that you connect with medical students at jobs fairs and healthcare seminars. 

By doing this, you’re in a perfect position to create and share tailored content that can help these students along their career path. Assisting them in this way will put you front of mind, and when they approach graduation, yours could be the first name that pops into their mind as they consider their next move.

Invest in employer branding

Employer branding is hugely important in the healthcare industry as it could be the deciding factor for a potential hire. If two jobs offer the same salary and benefits, as is often the case, the candidate is more likely to choose the employer with the better public image and reputation.

We’ve touched on this topic previously in much greater detail so we’ll keep this short. Candidates will do their due diligence on a potential employer so make sure that it’s clear and obvious that yours is a positive working environment. They should understand that you value your employees and that there is genuine potential for career progression. Do this, and you could set yourself apart from the crowd.

Consider their needs in the hiring process

Candidate experience makes a difference and how well you take care of your potential hires hints at how you value your employees. However, with healthcare professionals, you may need to go that extra mile to accommodate their needs.

For example, as you are well aware, the best candidates are often passive candidates who are currently employed. This means that interviews may not be so easy for them to attend. Add to that the fact that many of these qualified professionals will work long hours, and you can see why some may simply decide to turn down an opportunity due to time constraints.

Allowing them the opportunity to schedule an initial interview at a time of their choosing or to attend the interview via Skype puts the ball back in their court. It also shows them that you’re a considerate employer which could bode well for the future.

Use your current employees

There are two ways that a healthcare employer can make use of its current staff regarding filling vacant roles. The first is to consider hiring from within while the second option is to make your current employees part-time recruiters.

Hiring from within isn’t always possible, particularly for specialised roles, but it’s worth considering the benefits of providing training for employees with future talent gaps in mind. Follow this approach and not only will you future-proof your recruitment but also retain the best talent in your workforce. After all, career progression goes hand-in-hand with employee retention.

You can also ask your current staff to help with your talent search. Make them aware of any upcoming vacancies and ask them to share these roles on their social media feeds. You might also consider setting up a referral program for successful employee referrals. If a recommended candidate lands a role and passes through the probation period without a hitch, the employee who referred them receives a bonus. If taking this approach, it’s important to make it clear that employees should only recommend qualified candidates that they can personally vouch for.


Make use of the latest technology

Technology has come a long way in recent years and there’s now a seemingly endless list of tools and software available to the busy recruiter. And while the likes of screening tools and automated chatbots can help accelerate your time to hire and improve candidate experience, you’ll need to find those qualified candidates first.

This is where sourcing tools can be of great assistance. This type of software allows you to pinpoint suitable candidates based on their experience, qualifications, and other variables you might feel are important to the role. Unfortunately, these tools aren’t quite foolproof. Out of date LinkedIn profiles, old emails addresses, or even a lack of online information can sometimes see qualified candidates slip through the net. And considering that lack of talent we discussed earlier, this is less than ideal to say the least.

That’s why here at vsource, we combine AI technology with human expertise to ensure that the final decision on a candidate’s suitability is always the right one. We understand that technology is essential in an industry where a lack of speed can see you fall behind your competitors. But we also understand that at its heart, recruitment is all about people. Artificial Intelligence and algorithms can help us a great deal, but at the end of the day, we believe that it’s a combination of this innovative technology and human experience and expertise that determines the success of a recruitment campaign.


The global shortage of talent in the healthcare industry will no doubt have an effect on your ability to find the right people for your vacant roles. But as you can see, it’s by no means a ‘game over’ scenario. So try targeting healthcare students earlier in their fledgling careers, invest in your employer branding, and make use of the best technology available to you. With the right approach, building a solid candidate pipeline is well within your reach.

Want to know more about how vsource can help you source the best qualified candidates in the healthcare industry? Hit the button below to book your free, no obligation demo.

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