Healthcare IT Solutions. Global Project Professionals.

It’s become a common headache for HR professionals in healthcare organizations today — an IT position that remains vacant for weeks, even months on end, while attempts to recruit qualified talent fall short. As the national unemployment rate continues to drop and demand for technical skills increases, recruiters in hospitals nationwide struggle to attract and retain top-tier talent that will help their organizations move forward.

Human Resources leadership in hospital settings aren’t alone in the struggle. Virtually every sector faces an uphill battle when attempting to fill specialized technical roles. Even today as the demand for technical innovation is on the rise, recruiting and retaining tech talent is one of management’s top concerns.

So how can HR professionals maintain the upper hand in attracting and keeping elite technical talent? The first step is understanding exactly why these healthcare IT roles are so difficult to fill. When determining your organization’s recruitment game plan, consider these five reasons why your organization’s technical roles are still vacant.

Both IT and healthcare face major shortages in skilled labor.

It goes without saying that the recent uptick in the US economy has led to a nearly unprecedented low in unemployment, with a national average of around 3.9% — nearly a full point lower than just 18 months ago. Now consider that the national unemployment rate for IT roles is only 2%1 while the healthcare unemployment rate2 hovers just below 3%. Simply put, HR professionals in healthcare settings face a hiring double-whammy in an already challenging recruitment landscape.

This isn’t a problem that’s likely to diminish in the future either, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a whopping 12% increase in demand for technical roles over the next 10 years. Healthcare organizations face an exceptionally difficult road ahead, since the most in-demand technical roles are the same roles hospitals  need to fill most — namely cyber security, business intelligence and DevOps.

More and more technical specialists are opting to build experience rather than educational background.

While a college education used to be a prerequisite for an IT role in every industry, times are quickly changing for IT roles of the future. Record low unemployment rates and skyrocketing college tuition are leading those skilled in technical specialties away from traditional academic routes and into jobs where hands-on experience trumps educational background.

Plenty of major companies are following suit by relaxing the educational barrier to entry — Google, Ernst & Young and Apple have all recently announced that they no longer require employee to have a college degree. Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations have yet to catch up to the trend, and often drive away candidates that would otherwise be the perfect technical fit.

Healthcare organizations struggle to compete on employee perks and benefits.

Virtually every industry is competing for the most qualified tech candidates, with many organizations upping the ante on employee benefits and perks as a means for attracting talent. In fact, plenty of companies are beginning to offer flexible schedules and remote working options, expenses-paid vacations and even a choice over the technology they use at work.

While small startups and mid-sized companies have an easier time pivoting to meet employee demand, large healthcare organizations often struggle to do the same. Simply put, legacy processes and more traditional organizational structures put hospitals at a disadvantage when it comes to speed and flexibility.

Baby Boomers are retiring in droves.

The working population in the United States is growing older in general, but healthcare organizations are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to talent recruitment. That’s because the healthcare industry has an older-than-average workforce, with nearly half of all registered nurses3 reaching retirement age by 2020 and one quarter of physicians working well into their 60s and 70s.

This is often also the case for healthcare IT teams, with employees retiring faster than HR departments are able to recruit for and fill vacancies. This is especially true when it comes to specialized roles that require high-demand skill sets. With IT innovation moving at warp-speed, the breadth and depth of those skill sets will only increase — putting the onus on HR departments to proactively seek out qualified candidates to fill positions currently held by professionals that are close to retirement.

Healthcare organizations lack accelerated training programs, or simply cannot afford them.

Training is a critical element in recruitment and talent retention efforts, since healthcare IT requires skills beyond that of a general IT professional. Getting new recruits up to speed with hospital technology and processes — and identifying the people to execute that specialized training — are constant challenges for HR professionals who are often busy with myriad other responsibilities.

Consequently, hospitals and other healthcare organizations are forced to outsource most of their training and onboarding efforts — but do so at the risk of depleting budget reserves. High turnover prompted by a strong economy and competitive job market only exacerbates the issue, as seasoned employees take organizational knowledge critical to the training of new employees out the door with them.

Amid exponential growth in HIT innovation and record low unemployment rates, HR professionals and recruiters face major challenges on the road ahead. While attracting top-tier talent for healthcare IT roles is certainly a challenge, there are plenty of things you can do to when your HIT roles go unfilled.

Seeking out specialized support can drastically reduce your recruitment time and effort, and prove a worthy investment for your organization’s future. Contact our team to find out how HealthTek can help you combat the challenges of today’s competitive landscape.