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LinkedIn's job report offers a glimpse into workforce of the future

As new digital skillsets continue emerging, healthcare organizations will have new opportunities to invest. But there are also challenges ahead, too.

Tom Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Healthcare IT News

Hospital executives just got a peek at the top emerging jobs and it's no surprise that healthcare is among the five fastest growing industries. It's the first sector when it comes to freelance workers, in fact, and the second, only to the staffing industry, in the 5-year growth of non-freelance employees.

That's according to the new LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report. Healthcare grew at 47 percent among freelance workers and 20 percent for non-freelance.

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Following healthcare, LinkedIn put retail and consumer products at 42 and 5 percent, respectively, while the staffing sectors were actually lower than healthcare at 41 percent among freelance workers but higher, at 30 percent, for those non-freelance employees. Oil and energy at 39 percent and 9 percent and professional services, with 34 percent and 15 percent, rounded out the list of 5-year growth sectors.

It's also not surprising that the social network found a big boom in tech skills. And that's where hospitals will have a range of new opportunities to tap into emerging skill sets. Three of the top five, in fact, are becoming increasingly important to healthcare: machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data developer.  The other two as a quick aside are sales development representative and customer success manager.

[Also: Nomad starts freelance job marketplace for telehealth providers]

Hospital finance and operations executives already know the workforce of the future will be more digital-savvy, of course. But the research reveals that hospitals and other industries will have enormous opportunities to invest in big data, data science and machine learning products, technologies, or in-house initiatives is becoming even more real almost by the day.

That's not to say there won't be challenges, most notably being able to hire and retain enough professionals with these emerging skill sets.

Take data scientists, for instance.

[Also: Healthcare employers: Seek out talent early, that's when they start looking]

"Data scientist roles have grown over 650 percent since 2012, but currently 35,000 people in the US have data science skills," LinkedIn authors wrote. "While hundreds of companies are hiring for those roles, supply of candidates cannot keep up with demand."

This report did not mention the same about machine learning and big data but the same will likely be true of both this time next year.

The takeaway: Hospitals will have in the near future more opportunity to tap into cutting-edge digital skillsets to advance the business, operations and care delivery, but those people will be hard to find and retain given the prevalence of freelancers in healthcare. 

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