Few verticals within staffing have faced the challenges that healthcare staffing firms have in the last few years, from increasing client requirements at the height of the pandemic to lasting economic uncertainty and tight talent pools. On top of that, healthcare staffing firms must navigate the increased demand for talent and the risk of clinician burnout impacting talent pools. How are these firms faring? Our 2023 GRID Industry Trends Report delves into the details.

What is top of mind for healthcare firms in 2023?

After a strong 2022, healthcare staffing firms are mostly optimistic about 2023, though economic and industry concerns like pricing pressure and economic uncertainty loom large. Healthcare staffing professionals are all in on talent in 2023 and largely plan to fuel these efforts through digital transformation. Read on to learn more about the topics healthcare staffing professionals are focused on in 2023.

How do healthcare staffing trends differ from other industries?

While the industry at large is back to prioritizing clients, healthcare staffing firms are prioritizing talent in 2023. They are the only segment not to place winning business as a top-three priority. They are one of the only segments to prioritize the overall candidate experience over candidate acquisition (but it’s neck and neck). Healthcare staffing firms plan to invest more in technology in 2023 than their peers in other industries, which is fitting because digital transformation is their top priority for 2023.

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Industry outlook

The healthcare staffing industry experienced solid growth in 2022, with 59% of firms reporting year-over-year revenue gains. While this is slightly behind the average for all industries (62%), healthcare professionals were likelier than average to report a strong 2021, which could be suppressing year-over-year growth opportunities.

When compared to the staffing industry as a whole, technology is a bigger focus for healthcare firms this year than other verticals. Forty-six percent of healthcare firms plan to increase their technology investments in 2023 versus an average of 33% for all other industries.

Healthcare staffing is not immune to the talent shortage affecting many industries. 52% of healthcare staffing professionals report that there is a talent shortage facing the market, slightly lower than the 66% from other industries reporting a talent shortage. Even with a slightly better outlook on the shortage of talent, healthcare staffing pros still rank tight talent pools as their number one challenge in 2023.

Priorities

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Healthcare staffing firms are prioritizing digital transformation in 2023

Almost half of the healthcare respondents report that digital transformation is their biggest priority this year, but that doesn’t mean candidates aren’t a focus. The other two top priorities for healthcare staffing firms in 2023 are candidate-centric, emphasizing candidate experience and acquisition.

How do these findings compare to the rest of the staffing industry? While the healthcare industry puts digital transformation at the forefront of its 2023 plans, the staffing industry at large is prioritizing winning new clients. That’s not to say digital transformation and candidates are not a focus throughout the rest of the staffing industry, with those priorities rounding out the top three areas of focus for firms this year.

Challenges

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Tight talent pools present a challenge throughout healthcare staffing

While the top priorities differed a bit between healthcare staffing firms and the rest of the industry, healthcare firms and their staffing industry peers face a common challenge in 2023: tight talent pools.

It is clear that all staffing firms will need to embrace technology and digital transformation to attract and retain top talent. This will also enable their recruiters to provide a seamless and excellent experience.

Despite the focus on tight talent pools, healthcare firms are still faced with pricing pressure and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no secret that healthcare firms were heavily impacted by the pandemic, evidenced by healthcare firms reporting those lasting impacts as a top challenge this year while the rest of the industry focuses on general economic uncertainty and named COVID-19 impacts as their fifth top challenge.

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Digital transformation

Over one-third of respondents report that the onboarding and credentialing process is too time-consuming, and many also say they lack the technology for efficient operations when collecting and maintaining credentials.

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How are winning firms overcoming these challenges? The answer lies with technology, but many healthcare firms are slow to adopt a digital transformation strategy.

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Less than one-half say they’re in the early stages of their digital transformation journey, but those digitizing data and leveraging automation are seeing tremendous growth. The firms winning over their competitors are twice as likely to digitize, automate, and redeploy talent at high rates.

Plus, leveraging technology can unlock further efficiency gains by reducing the manual work needed during the hiring process, such as providing recruiting teams with a holistic view of a provider’s credentialing status and enabling easier credentialing collection.

With just one-fourth of healthcare staffing firms reporting they are in the advanced stages of digital transformation, now is the time for firms still in the early stages of adoption to double down on their digital transformation plans. 

Healthcare continues to be a predominantly VMS/MSP model, where the volume of jobs far outpaces the availability of providers. We will see this trend continue in 2023. With this, continuing to focus on the candidate experience will be a key driver of a firm’s ability to not only place a candidate once but redeploy them.
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Jason Niad VP of Product - Healthcare at Bullhorn

Building a solid technology plan and incorporating best practices that enable recruiters to focus on relationships means firms are better poised to exceed client expectations and find and place providers in a talent-short market.

“Technology and digital transformation can unlock huge gains in candidate experience, customer experience, and agency employee experience. It’s all about creating transparency in the process for all stakeholders,” adds Niad.

With the lasting impact of the pandemic and the ongoing need to overcome tight talent pools, healthcare firms that heavily invest in technology are setting themselves up for success, as those using technology consistently see more process improvements and growth than their peers who are slower to adopt technology.

The future of healthcare staffing

While the last few years have seen both turmoil and growth, 2023 brings new challenges and opportunities for healthcare staffing firms. 

With growing expectations from candidates and clients, firms need to:

  • Adopt and leverage technology and automation more than ever, increasing the focus on a smooth recruitment and onboarding process
  • Ensure they have the processes in place to build relationships, redeploy candidates, and build a community of providers to combat the talent shortage. 
  • Find the right balance between automated solutions and personalized interactions, with a focus on creating lasting relationships that help fuel ongoing growth.

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