Survey shows healthcare workers' employment confidence up

Data released by human resources services and staffing company Randstad shows that healthcare workers’ confidence in the strength of the economy and the availability of jobs increased in the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to the Randstad Healthcare Employee Confidence Index overall employee confidence rose 4.1 points to 57.5 in the fourth quarter. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad Healthcare from October 8-10, November 12-14 and December 11-13, 2012. The survey included physicians and healthcare administrators as well as other healthcare professionals.


“The data you see in the survey results aligns with what we are hearing in our work and from our customers,” said Steve McMahan, executive vice president of Randstad US, Professionals. “Healthcare, for a lot of the well-chronicled reasons – be it the aging of the population (or) Obamacare – seems to be a strong demand area. We operate in a number of different sectors and the ratings in healthcare are among the highest we see.”

One indication that the confidence of healthcare workers is increasing is shown in the number who say they intend to look for work in the next 12 months. In the fourth quarter, 31 percent said they intended to seek new employment in the coming year, an increase of 8 percent from the third quarter 2012.

But while a strengthening healthcare market may be good news for workers who are looking for a change of employment, it can create some challenges for employers as the employment landscape becomes more fluid.

“That is the flip side of the coin here. As workers become more confident, you will see increased pressure on wages and increased challenges in retention,” McMahan said. “There is a pendulum that swings back and forth between employers and employees depending on how the economy evolves. That pendulum in 2008 and 2009 swung about as far as it can swing toward the employer. Now it is swinging back.”

The result of this, he added, is as employees feel more confident and may be entering the job market, employers should take the time to make sure that its wages are in line and that its employee referral and retention programs are up-to-date – areas that some employers may have neglected over the past few years.

“One of the things that happens when the economy goes through a prolonged period of softness, you get a lot of pent up demand for people who for a whole variety of reasons may want to have looked but didn’t have the confidence to do so,” McMahan said. “As they get more confident, they then go out and act on that.”

That confidence is growing in the industry according to the survey. In the fourth quarter, 58 percent of healthcare workers were confident they could find a job in the next 12 months, up from 55 percent in the third quarter of 2012. There is also a greater belief in the economy, as 29 percent said they believe it is getting stronger, up from just 20 percent who felt that in the third quarter.