Healthcare employment to rise in 2009

Despite announcements by hospitals and clinics across the country of budget and job cuts, the overall healthcare employment outlook is still promising, according to an industry forecast.

Seventeen percent of large healthcare employers who responded to's annual healthcare hiring survey indicated that they plan to increase the number of full-time employees in 2009.

Last year, the industry grew by 372,000 jobs.

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"Our survey shows that the industry is adding headcount with a steady hiring pace," said Allison Nawoj, spokeswoman for, an online job site.

Half of those surveyed reported having positions that have remained open because of the inability to find qualified skilled workers, she said.

An upcoming survey will show that nearly 30 percent of survey respondents across all industries will be hiring for information technology positions.

With healthcare poised for growth in 2009 in many nonclinical departments, jobseekers in other industries should consider how they can transfer their skills in management, accounting and other areas, Nawoj said.

Other trends that is seeing include workers staying on the job beyond retirement age and retirees being hired back, as well as the growth of "green" jobs that will enable healthcare organizations to be more environmentally efficient.

Additionally, 33 percent of healthcare organizations intend to hire contract or freelance employees in 2009. The benefits for employers of hiring contractors include getting skilled workers in place quickly and cost-effectively, Nawoj said. Jobseekers, in turn, can enjoy a more flexible work schedule.

For current employees, the supply-demand nexus favors them, and employers are offering flexible schedules for retention and recruitment.

Even with these promising employment numbers, Nawoj noted that they certainly could be higher, especially in coming years.

"Keep in mind that almost 70 percent of those surveyed have a wait-and-see attitude for forecasting," she said. "They're uncertain but hopeful."